Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 59
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for September 7, 2000

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

Where has our fall festival gone? We used to have a fall festival in Warrensburg around this time of year. Now we don’t. We used to have Warrensburg Day at the K.C. Royals ballpark. Now we don’t. We as a community are diminished by the loss of these community-wide events. While events at Whiteman AFB and the County Fairgrounds are fine additions to Johnson County, they do nothing for Warrensburg as a community. Powell Gardens is a fine place, but it’s almost as distant as the State Fair. What do our missing activities have in common? They were sponsored by the Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center (GWACC&VC).

A few years ago, the Warrensburg Fall Festival was a one-day event. The downtown blocks of North Holden & West Pine streets were packed with non-profit & for-profit food, information & craft booths and the streets were packed with local residents. At some time, the GWACC&VC decided to go to a 3-day festival to lure a carnival, because carnivals generate more money. However, the food & craft booth owners quickly found that they would now spend three days to generate the revenue they’d previously generated in one, so they found other places to go. The prime entertainment became an evening beer garden. As problems became apparent, the GWACC&VC kept claiming that the festival was a success, but secretly decided they’d rather switch than fight and canceled it.

At one time, Warrensburg would get a good crowd to see the Royals play baseball. The last time the event was tried the GWACC&VC didn’t sell enough tickets, through weak promotion or whatever other cause, to qualify the group to have a ‘first pitch’ ceremony. However, a young boy had already been told that he’d won that right, and the resultant flap made the Kansas City media. The GWACC&VC got a black eye & never again sponsored a day at the ballpark. Instead of trying to fix their ticket-selling problems and have a better event, they quit.

Perhaps, though, a new group will create the events that will reverse the diminishment of our community. The informal “Blind” Boone Park group has big ideas. Long term plans include a music festival. In the short term, they’re planning a formal gala & fundraising auction on November 4th at the country club on West Pine Street, complete with band, chef and more. This group is showing how true community spirit grows, by embracing ideas and participation from everyone.

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