The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.
It's September, and a person's fancy turns to ...festivals. While other towns keep their money at home, Warrensburgers in a "festive" mood have to go to Concordia, Chilhowee, Cole Camp, Warsaw, Holden or any of a plethora of other places. We used to have a Fall Festival (that later became Old Drum Days), but that died in 1999. It's a shame, because done right, Warrensburg could have a first rate fest.
In the past, I've suggested ideas for working the Old Drum theme into a festival to make it a real destination event. I suggested making everything 'doggy' - from music to food to carnival prizes to floppy ears on the beauty queens' crowns. I've suggested a 'putting on the dog' fashion promenade with poodle skirts and Senator Vest impersonators, doggie song karaoke contests, Lassie-calling, 'wiener relays,' and a doggerel contest. Activities for the real dogs mentioned a standard dog show, a poker-playing dog costume show, working dog demonstrations, etc. Other ideas included a celebrity poker tournament with the mayor and politicians competing (while wearing dog costumes, of course), a dog biscuit bake-off, a dog howling contest, chihuahua races, a dog art show (art about dogs or by dogs, or maybe both), and a childrens' essay & speech contest, with dogs as the subject. You get the idea.
Well, my ideas have again been ignored, so perhaps we just don't want to use our best tourist hook. So I'm going to suggest something else - let's forget the dogs and have something truly unique - a cat-themed festival. While I haven't thought through all the possible events, here's one idea that would be sure to draw national attention: a "cat cutting contest." Yes, this contest would be based on the ever popular team penning event indulged in by cattlemen, but in this case the "cat cutting" team would have to isolate the calico from a mixed bunch of siamese, shorthairs, tabbies, and tortoiseshells and herd it to the litter box - all without using catnip. Cat cutters who get scratched would, of course, be scratched from the competition.
Sounds pretty silly, doesn't it? It's no sillier than the excuses for not doing a quality festival based on the Old Drum story. Let's regain that community feeling that was always present at the old 1-day Fall Festival and see what can be done. The Chamber of Commerce gets $100,000 per year from the room tax; that ought to provide some seed money. There are so many things we can. Let the billboards read 'Warrensburg - Gone to the Dogs' - we'll draw crowds and have a great time!
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