RiverFest report card

RiverFest has come and gone and it’s time to look at the report card. Here’s the way we saw it: Overall, RiverFest was very successful and the parts that make up the whole appear to be on the right track.

Attendance was up 30 percent at the Community Kickoff Luncheon. The William Faulkner Literary Competition had a large spike in entries.
BNA Bank’s Tallahatchie River Run, in its 23rd year, set a record with nearly 600 entrants. The Tallahatchie Arts Council’s Rock Bottom River Run enjoyed good participation.
Attendance at the music events was very good. Sam Mosley and the Moseley and Johnson Band drew well on Friday night and Buckey Covington brought a large crowd on Saturday. A good assortment of arts, crafts and other vendors participated.
 The festival events that were moved to the city parking lot near the Union County Library fared just fine after being forced out of the festival’s traditional downtown location on Bankhead Street in front of the Union County Courthouse.
The question now is what to do next year? Some have suggested moving the festival to the city parking lot permanently. We would urge all those connected to the festival to think long and hard about that.
Perhaps the concerts have grown so large that the stage needs to be set up in the middle of Bankhead Street near the Farm Bureau, using the natural slope of Bankhead Street in downtown for the seating. Vendors could still stretch all the way up the street to the banks.
We think a major reason to spend tax money to have a festival is to showcase our community and the ambiance of our historic downtown. It also helps showcase our merchants.
Let’s keep our festival downtown.