NEOSHO, Mo. —
Right on cue, Mother Nature supplied fall weather to two festivals in Newton County.
In spite of a cold front that moved into the area early Saturday, brining with it heavy rains, large crowds turned out for both the Barnyard Days Festival of Arts and Crafts, held north of Neosho, and the Autumn Harvest Fall Festival on the Neosho town square.
Steve Roark, who organized the annual Barnyard Days Festival at the Circle R Ranch, said there’s always a plan in place for inclement weather.
“When you have ran a festival like this for as long as we have, you plan for weather like this,” Roark said of the festival, now in its 17th year.
“The people understand, and they are still coming through the gates with smiles on their faces,” he said.
Circle R Ranch puts on the three-day event with the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks. The BCFO focuses on helping families afflicted by breast cancer with financial assistance, while promoting awareness across the four-state area. Currently, the BCFO has a presence in 31 counties in the area.
The event is estimated to draw an estimated 10,000 people to events including a single mic showdown, an archery competition, a haunted barn and arts and crafts vendors. This year’s event is the fifth year that the BCFO has been associated with the event. For Crystal Webster, executive director of the BFCO, Barnyard Days is the type of event that puts the organization in front of people that her organization can help.
“It is important to start breast cancer awareness month with events that bring visibility to the local resources that are available,” Webster said. “This is a family-oriented weekend event that puts us in contact with a lot of people we can help out.”
The Mercy Hospital mobile mammography unit will be on hand today to provide services, some of which will be free to qualified applicants. The top five contestants of the single mic competition will also face off for a $500 first prize. The event will kick off at 9 a.m.
Downtown event draws 1,200 people
Rain and cool weather are what the City of Neosho events coordinator Wes Franklin planned for. While it took a few adjustments, Franklin said, Saturday’s event still went on as planned.
“It is a fall festival, and we got the full dose of fall weather today,” Franklin said. “We only had 15 of the planned 90 vendors back out because of the weather and we have had a steady stream of people coming through the square all day.”
Franklin estimate that over 1,200 people came to Saturday’s event, which included a kids fishing time at Big Spring Park, live music and inflatable bounce rides.
Jeff Strickland, of Stella, one of the vendors at the event, came to sell his repurposed bottles.
“The rain slowed us down, but this is definitely still worth it,” Strickland said. “Sales might be down a little for us, but the bigger part is coming out to meet new people face to face.”
Neosho resident Sarah Anderson waited out the morning rain to attend the festival later in the day.
“We come every year, and it usually is a little nicer,” Anderson said. “It’s cold, but it’s still a lot of fun, and it is a lot of fun right here in our backyard.”
TODAY’S HOURS at Barnyard Days are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Adult admission is $6.