Archive for Thursday, June 24, 2004

Chamber festival attracts visitors, brings commerce

June 24, 2004

There were classic cars, muscle cars, late model cars and even trucks on display in downtown Baldwin Saturday. Twenty-five in all, which Star Novak believes is a good turnout for Baldwin's first-ever Planes, Trains and Automobiles festival. But she believes that's a number that will just continue to grow each year.

"For a first-year car show, 25 cars is still a good number to start from," said Novak, who organized the car show. "But I expect we could double that number (next year)."


Novak wasn't the only one pleased with Saturday's turnout for the car show. In fact, Bill Harmon, president of the Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, said he was glad the attendance was as large as it was for Baldwin's first-ever Planes, Trains and Automobiles festival.

"Our attendance was really good," Harmon said. "I think it was a really good weekend. It brought a lot of people to town, a lot of new visitors."

The festival, which was a chamber-sponsored event, was designed to attract visitors to Baldwin in an attempt to generate more commerce, according to Harmon.

"The goal of the chamber is to enhance the businesses and bring business to town," he said. "The whole idea is to spur business."

Though it was the first year for the festival, Harmon thought it accomplished what the chamber wanted -- to bring people to Baldwin.

"Highway 56 was just packed with people coming in," he said. "Downtown was just packed."

Several Baldwin businesses participated in the weekend's festivities. McFarlane Aviation had an airplane display, Midland Railway had train rides and The Lodge sponsored a hunting and fishing sports show, all of which Harmon said attracted crowds of people.

"The airport said it had more people than it does for the Maple Leaf Festival," he said. "There were at least 21 planes, and constant people coming in."

Both Harmon and Novak agreed another popular event was the downtown car show.

Not only was the participation in the show high, Novak said, but a number of people attended just to view the vehicles.

"I was very pleased with the turnout," she said. "We had a lot of foot traffic."

She said she hoped the car show would continue to grow over the years.

"This is a great chance for us to promote Baldwin, promote our local businesses," she said. "It's such a big event, or it can be. It has that potential. We can make people want to come back every year."

Harmon said though the festival ran relatively smoothly, there were some changes and improvements to be made before next year's event in an effort to attract even more people.

But he said he was pleased overall with the festival and believes it's a worthwhile event for the town.

"I think everybody benefited from this as a community," he said. "This is something we can do and not change the integrity of the town, but promote commerce. I think it's a great event."

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