A Wilson Times Co. publication · Serving Southern Nash County Since 1947

Festival a comeback success story

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After two years of shrinking attendance and quite frankly the feeling that our beloved Spring Hope National Pumpkin Festival may have run its course, this year’s was nothing short of a huge success.

Two years ago, the mistake was made of moving the festival to a single-day format for a year — and that move was almost the death knell for it. For nearly all of its 48 years, the festival has been a two-day affair with the street dance being the signature event on Friday and the parade being the signature event on Saturday. Already hemorrhaging attendance from dropping the carnival several years ago, moving to a single day dropped that attendance even more, and last year when the format went back to two days, it looked like the damage had been done when Saturday had the lowest attendance in memory, despite the crowds for the street dance on Friday.

Fast forward a year to 2019. The same group that worked so diligently in 2018 doubled down in 2019 to make the festival what it was this weekend — a serious comeback success story! Not one, not two, not three, not even four, but five entertainment acts were booked across the two-day period, a favorite old contest was brought back, marketing efforts on social media and broadcast radio and television were increased, hours upon hours of meetings and hard work took place — and in the end, those who worked so hard on this year’s festival are able to look back and say that they did it. They created an awesome 2019 Pumpkin Festival that was well attended and enjoyed by all who came to visit our small town.

I will not even attempt to try to remember the names of those who worked so diligently this past year, but to those of you who busted your butts to make 2019’s festival what it turned out to be, I think our entire town owes you all a great big thank you.

This is an all-volunteer organization, and some folks worked without sleep from Thursday to Saturday. Guys (and gals), I want you to know it was worth it — and everybody appreciates the efforts it took.

As for that pesky carnival issue — it’s not as easy as it seems to get one of those back here, as there are very few carnival companies out there anymore and those still in operation have an almost set route that they follow every year. We used to be on that route, but it was dropped and it is very hard to get back on unless someone drops them one year. We are trying very hard to bring it back, though. Here’s hoping that in 2020, the final element will return as well!

Mark Cone is owner and operator of SouthernNashNews.com.

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