If talked-about changes come about, next year’s Greene Countrie Towne Festival could look a little different.
The Greenfield Rotary Club sponsors the annual festival and according to Rotarian Andrew Surritt during Thursday’s regular meeting of the club, the plan is to move the stage to South Washington Street, positioning it in the 100 block near Merchants National Bank. The idea with this, Surritt said, is to be able to utilize the city building’s courtyard as a seating area.
Moving the stage from its Fourth Street position also opened up discussion of adding a smaller stage to that space, which would allow for more entertainment offerings for festival goers, Surritt said.
But if the main stage is to be moved to a new location, that means logistically other things have to move, too.
Surritt said if the proposed plans happen, then the rides typically set up on Washington Street would be moved to Jefferson Street. That also means some vendor positions would change and the annual parade would also have to be rerouted to avoid the sort of “midway” that would be created on Jefferson Street.
He said that while the logistics of a parade reroute would have to be considered, one idea was that the parade would travel East on McClain Avenue, and then South on Washington Street, ending at the open area near the Waddell Company.
Another change relating to the festival is a website dedicated to the annual event. According to Surritt, that website will be up and running before the end of the year and is to be a one-stop for any and all festival information.
The annual festival has its origins in the 1960s. Through the years, the event has evolved from what originated as a car show, to balloon rides another year, and a rodeo another year, to the current three-day event held the third weekend in July. The Greenfield Rotary Club took over the festival nearly 30 years ago.
The yearly event features the traditional trappings of festival food, live entertainment, games and contests, antique and classic cars and tractors, along with the opportunity to see friends and neighbors in a festive setting. Also featured during the festival on Saturday afternoon is the annual Rotary auction, which is the club’s primary fundraiser of the year. Through the years the auction has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars that have been funneled back into the community through the Rotary Club.
As Rotarians continue to plan, and as the event draws nearer, more information will be presented.
The 2017 Greene Countrie Towne Festival is set for July 14-16 in downtown Greenfield.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.