October 15, 2013 by wcobserver
Unlike previous years this year’s annual fall festival in West Fork went indoors. The annual event which has become smaller over the past several years was held in the 7000 square foot Frank Wenzel Community Center. The traditional street activities were replaced with a quilt and craft fair.
Organizing the event which was once handled by a few council members and city employees got a late start this year. The city council didn’t set a date for the festival until August.
None the less, the event was well attended and provided a once- a-year venue for the town’s residents to mingle.
What did folks think of this years West Fest?
Public comments voiced on the facebook page “West Fork-a little bit of everything,” offered some insight into public opinion on this year’s limited West Fest format. The social media page is managed by the city clerk and in addition to meeting and event announcements, lost pet notices and a rainfall report the page is sometimes used as a forum to criticize the mayor.
Below are some of the comments from that facebook page along with a comment on the comments by former councilmember Joan Wright.
–Went down to west fest today and have to say i thought it was horrible. Lots of great crafts to see but the fact that it was inside sucked. We did not enjoy it at all and hope they do it like they have for years before again.
–I don’t fault John Collins one bit. He had too little time to try to organize this. It should have been turned over months ago.
–I am disappointed with the way it was handled this year.
–I just really enjoy it outside it was to cramped i didnt realize it was someone new in charge not trying to be rude just my opinion
–I understand the disappointment too. I’m hoping next year for a more traditional ‘festival’ atmosphere. My opinion only but the things I felt lacking were:[detailed list of six items]
–we enjoy sitting and listening to the music and walking around talking to.people and there just wasn’t any of that.
–We could still have our quilts and other specialty items in the Community Center. We could have our traditional WestFest activities along Main Street. Maybe some activities could go on at one or more of the parks. We have a wonderful little town and need to show it off.
–One great thing about WestFest being in front of City Admin is that it’s more visible. Visitors just passing through stumble upon it and stop to see what’s going on. It showcases our town in a way that having it at the Community Center can’t. I would think one goal of WestFest is to increase attendance and the number of exhibitors. The Community Center doesn’t have as much room.
Comment by Joan Wright:
“It’s wonderful to see so much interest and enthusiasm for this year’s West Fest – after the fact! Do you know that there almost WASN’T a ‘Fest this year? By the time Chief Collins & Parks Director Roebke agreed to be in charge of the event, and asked for volunteers to help on a planning committee, there was hardly enough time to create and distribute notices (PR), inquire about/ engage attractions (the WF band & Cheerleaders don’t participate in a parade if they have a game the night before); the committee wanted to have music, but no local groups wanted to participate, we couldn’t find a decent sound system that we could borrow; we wanted activities for the kids (the bounce house wasn’t available as we had thought, but no one came forward with ideas and willingness to sponsor/be in charge of said activities.
I could go on and on. Suffice it to say, West Fest of past years – the ones this community remembers so fondly – will be a thing of the past unless MORE CITIZENS are ready and willing to become ACTIVE and HELP in the early planning stages, and later in the preparation and clean-up phases. As it turned out, only 5 people were ultimately on the committee and 2 additional folks came to the last meeting to help finalize plans for the food offerings.
The bulk of the work/responsibility fell on the shoulders of Chief Collins and Mayor Hime. Without their leadership and effort to contact potential participants, we would not have had ANY West Fest. And although Chief Collins has agreed to be in charge of the event next year, he CANNOT do it all by himself. If the community wants the kind of West Fest described in the Comments above, there will have to be MORE folks willing to attend MORE meetings and share MORE ideas EARLIER and put muscle and sweat equity and time in, for the kind of West Fest you say you want.
….when the call goes out in the next few months for those interested in helping plan for West Fest 2014, please consider attending. Bring your friends!”