Street Talk

Market Festival Big Success In Spite Of Weather

By Mickey Howley

I have been spending an inordinate amount of time staring into the computer monitor looking at radar loops courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  

Last Saturday morning, looking at the screen from 5:30 a.m. on, what had appeared as an angry red line on the monitor came blowing into town at 7 a.m., one hour before the Main Street Market Festival kick off. Now we all know there is nothing you can do about the weather. Climate is another story. But at that hour there were 47 different groups of farmers, artist, musicians and community organizations (roughly 280 people) all in the process of converging on Main Street, many planning to be here the entire 8am to 8:30 p.m. time.  

That same radar gave us the information that the back end of the storm was just clearing the Mississippi River and working the speed and distance calculation we figured that Water Valley would be in clear air by 9 a.m. And it was. So, we pushed the opening back an hour.

The farmers who had picked crops, the artist who made work, the vendors who had prepared food, and the community groups that had organized, all braved the still threatening skies and came out. The street filled with artist and food vendors. The farmers sold products, the bands played, the kids had games, the cow ride rolled and the inflatable slide slid. People came out. Main Street would like to express a big Thank You to all those who came and participated.

But Zeus was not done messing with us, for what had been loose group of pimply red thunderheads at 8 a.m. that morning in central Oklahoma had coalesced into another, larger, angry red line accelerating across Arkansas. The estimated arrival in 38965 was 6 p.m., two and a half hours sooner than wanted.

So we made the call at 3 p.m. to shorten one act, cancel one, move the headliner act indoors, postpone the fireworks and have the vendors pick up early. So the 2009 Main Street Market Festival was shortened by 3.5 hours, one on the front and 2.5 on the back end.

The weather aside, I feel Main Street was very lucky. Our volunteers worked hard to get this festival together and they proved themselves quick and flexible to adapt to the situation.  The artist, vendors, and community groups were great to work with and very understanding.

Main Street would especially like to thank the City of Water Valley, from the Mayor to the guys working the weed-wackers, we had total support. The Electric Department had us set up, the Parks and Sanitation guys had the Railroad Park looking great, the fire department was ready for the fireworks and the police department had the area and traffic routing ready to go as soon as rain stopped.

I would personally like to thank the officers of the WVPD, as the son of a career police officer who worked many a street festival; I know it is a long tedious, often thankless, detail.

Next year Main Street will put on another festival. If you enjoyed this one let us know. If you have any ideas on how to improve, let any Main Street member know. We’re going to stay with the energy and effort gained from this festival and make the next one better and, hopefully, drier.

James Bond is back this Saturday. See www.movieonmain.com for details.

Last week’s poll had the favorite anticipated event at the festival as dancing in the street to Wiley and the Checkmates. I can tell you Mr. Wiley’s band plays some very danceable music and hopefully we can get them back one dry night. Check out www.watervalleymainstreet.com to register your opinion on Market Fest.

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