Friday, September 21, 2012

Congratulations to Asociaci--n Latina Imagen for sponsoring the first Hispanic Heritage Month Festival in Monett last Saturday. Their undertaking turned into a trial with the onslaught of rain. Fortunately, organizers soldiered forward and had a pleasant evening.

Considering the last Cinco de Mayo celebration in Monett in 2005 took another pounding from the rain, we should be glad to see any attempt to renew the festival effort.

We are in the middle of fall festival season. Marionville's Apple Fest is this weekend with the Newtonia Fall Festival next week, followed by Apple Butter Makin' Days in Mt. Vernon and the Carthage Maple Leaf Festival during the Oct. 12 weekend. A week later are the thousand-and-one craft shows in northwest Arkansas.

Monett's attempt to enter the fall festival circuit with Pioneer Days, extending Monett centennial celebration, also suffered from cold, rainy weather then disappeared.

Perhaps the Hispanic Heritage Festival offers a model Monett can follow. We have long heard there is not that much fun stuff to do in town. Festivals, with a few exceptions like the July Fourth celebration and Oktoberfest, tend to only last a few years.

But there is an easier way. Like the Hispanic Heritage Festival, a one-day event is less hard to manage and doesn't have to have all the same attractions that the other festivals have, such as a carnival.

Broadway Nights fits that mold as a one-night event, and it's coming back for the fall installment on Friday, Oct. 5. Monett High School football games, with their tailgate parties around the edges of Burl Fowler Stadium, seem to fit a pattern that Monett likes. The spontaneity of the tailgate parties is particularly attractive in a town that seems to scare away volunteers in the planning process.

Monett is probably too staid for a "flash mob"-style spontaneous party to break out in town. Smaller events may nonetheless have more potential to work here.

Picking up the entertainment potential in Monett may become just as important, or may work hand in hand, with the downtown rejuvenation effort. The Hispanic Heritage Festival also showed it doesn't take a city-wide undertaking to create a fun time.

By working at it and supporting efforts that do develop, living in Monett and the attraction the community has on the surrounding area will only grow.