The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 5, 2012

Town officials pleased with Celebrate Neosho festival turnout

NEOSHO, Mo. — Neosho officials say they are pleased with the annual Celebrate Neosho festival staged last Saturday.

City Manager Troy Royer said he was pleased with every aspect of the one-day event, which he estimated drew more than 5,000 people to the community.

Mayor Richard Davidson said he was impressed by the turnout.

“The turnout was overwhelming,” he said. “I think we set a new bar as what to expect in Neosho moving forward, and we look forward to having a better show for people next Fourth of July.”

The festival began with a 5K run along the pedestrian trails in Morse Park. Parks Director John Jordan said 71 runners participated in the run.

Later, 70 children participated in a fishing derby sponsored by the Neosho National Fish Hatchery. A car show on the square attracted 75 entries.

Jordan said he was most impressed with the crowds that showed up at Hugh Robinson Memorial Airport for live music, fireworks and the Magic by Moonlight air show.

Jordan said he thinks the air show, an addition to the festival this year, was a success.

“The people that I’ve talked to and the posts I’ve seen on Facebook, I think people were really impressed with the air show,” he said. “I think it helped to draw more people to the festival.”

In May, the City Council approved an additional transfer from the hotel-motel tax fund to cover the cost of the festival. The previous budget for the festival was $4,000.

The shift in funds increased the operating budget for the festival to $15,800, of which $5,000 was spent on the Magic by Moonlight show by Younkin Airshows of Siloam Springs, Ark.

Jordan said an additional $2,000 was budgeted for the fireworks show. The city also spent $1,000 to put on the 5K run, $1,500 for live music and $1,500 on advertising for the festival.

City leaders agree that the expenditure was money well spent. They said the purpose of the festival was to give back to the residents of Neosho, not to turn a profit.

“We certainly didn’t do this for the purpose of making money,” Davidson said. “We did this to give the residents an activity to come to and celebrate the nation’s birthday, and to bring people from outside of Neosho in to see what we have to offer here. It certainly brought some revenue to town, but we don’t judge this by profit or loss. We judge it based on turnout, and the turnout this year was outstanding.”

Jordan said he would like to expand the number of events for next year’s festival, but he said it is too early to say what the added events might be.

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