Maple Leaf Festival crowd sets record
This year the Maple Leaf Festival branched out further than ever before. Cars were backed up to the Zarco filling station on U.S. Highway 59.
"We had a lot of indicators that we haven't seen before," said Steve Honomichl, Maple Leaf Committee Chairman.
He noted that traffic jams also occurred south of the Baldwin junction and east towards Kansas City. Honomichl estimated that 35,000 people attended on Saturday and between 8,000 and 10,000 on Sunday. The back up of cars was not the only indicator of Saturday's record setting attendance.
"Quite a few of the booths sold out on Saturday," said Star Novak, Publicity Coordinator for the Maple Leaf Festival Committee. She added that Saturday's increased attendance was partially due to the chance of rain on Sunday.
Though Sunday did see patches of rain, Honomichl was pleasantly surprised with the steady stream of visitors.
"People came in all day," he said.
Honomichl credited the craft booths and the festival's publicity with the rise in attendance.
"The booths improve in quality year after year," he said. "The publicity was good and so was the advertising that was done."
Novak received positive feedback on many aspects of the festival.
"People liked the carnival, and I received a lot of favorable comments about the petting zoo in the Kids Zone," she said.
Honomichl said the feedback and comments come in handy when preparing for next year.
"A lot of people have made suggestions, and we appreciate all the input," he said. "I think we've got a lot of good ideas."
The increased attendance and overall success of this year's Maple Leaf Festival can be attributed to many factors, but Honomichl and Novak agree that the people of Baldwin City deserve most of the credit.
"It takes everybody to put this together," Honomichl said. "I was fortunate to have good people working for me."
Novak said the Baldwin City community plays an important role in bringing the large numbers back each year.
"The people I visited with were very impressed with Baldwin City," she said. "We made a favorable impression on a lot people."
The festival committee will begin working on plans for next year right away. Residents and city organizations are encouraged to offer their opinions and feedback at the monthly meetings. The committee is also looking for new members to help with the year-round planning and organization of the event.