EDITORIAL: Chilifest success

Organizers of the annual ChiliFest in downtown Tupelo accepted a calculated risk when this year’s event was changed from the traditional mid-day Thursday time to Friday night after working hours.
Results were outstanding at the Friday night celebration.
A “bowl count” by festival caterer Jim Bean shows 1,000 people enjoyed a crisp October night filled with music, food, costumed chili-cooking teams, dancing and the laughter that confirms a good time at such fundraisers for non-profits.
The Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association sponsors the ChiliFest, and the seventh annual edition offered a refreshing change of pace and raised expectations for 2007.
A preliminary, estimated bottom line shows the festival made $6,900 for the DTMSA’s range of programs promoting economic development and quality of life in the downtown district. Last year’s event, by comparison, raised about $3,800 after all bills were paid.
In addition, organizers retained a family-friendly atmosphere, with children playing freely in the cordoned-off area and parents making sure hot bowls of chili and trays of chili-dogs didn’t spill before arrived at decorated tables filling the site.
Best of all, organizers used the services of 70 volunteers from DTMSA member businesses, and 32 corporate donors enhanced the net bottom line.

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