Corbin H. Crable
If it’s the beginning of fall, Spring Hill residents can be sure of one thing: the annual Spring Hill Fall Festival is just right around the corner.
The festival, now in its 56th year, hosts a variety of family-oriented activities over a two-day period, according to Spring Hill resident Paula McKenzie, one of the event’s organizers.
“It’s a lot of fun – a big social event, a big party,” McKenzie said. “You get to see lots and lots of folks, and it’s a good way to spend a Saturday.”
A parade will kick off the event on the morning of Sept. 18. Parade entrants will gather at the Spring Hill Middle School at 8 a.m., and the parade will begin at 10 a.m. The parade’s grand marshall will be Spring Hill resident Brian Johnson. In addition, the Spring Hill United Methodist Church, 112 E. Nichols St., will serve breakfast between 8 and 10 a.m. The church will accept donations to go toward the church’s operations.
There will be plenty to do throughout the afternoon, too, as activities begin on the city’s ball fields. A wiffle ball game will take place at 1:45 p.m. on field no. 4, followed by a hot dog eating contest at 3:30 p.m. and a pie eating contest at 4:15 p.m. Eaters can sign up for the contests for a fee of $10 each; only 10 entrants are allowed in each contest.
Area band Electric Soul will take the stage at 6 p.m. at ball field no. 4. After a ceremony honoring the 2010 grand marshall and citizen of the year, the music will continue with area band Damaged Goods. The Olathe-based band will begin playing at 8 p.m., and a fireworks display will light up the sky at 9.
Food vendors are scheduled to be open until 10 p.m.
The fun continues on Sunday, Sept. 19, with the festival’s second annual 5K Run 4 Help. Registration for the event will begin at 8 a.m. at the Spring Hill City Park, with the fun run and walk starting at 9 a.m. Runners will hit the pavement at 9:30. The registration fee for the event is $20, with all proceeds going to benefit Community and Family Support Services, an emergency assistance program run through the Spring Hill Multi-Service Center.
“(The run) is a great way to support your neighbors, and it’s a fun way to get to know other people, too,” said Kara Pope, one of the volunteer coordinators of the 5K run. “We think this will benefit the whole community.”
The festival will conclude with church services at 10:45 a.m. in the Spring Hill City Park. Those services will be offered through the combined efforts of five area churches.
McKenzie said that although there will be a few minor changes to the festival this year, festivalgoers can still expect the same high-energy fun that the event has given the area for the past several decades.
“You’re going to find a lot more crafting booths and a different setup for the food vendors area,” she said. “It’s going to be like a big commons area taking up an entire ball field.”
McKenzie said that she and the hundreds of other volunteers – ranging from Boy Scouts to church congregation members to city employees – are always thinking of ways to improve the festival.
“The festival is still going on when we’re planning for the next year,” McKenzie said. “The actual (planning) begins in January.”
She said one of the ultimate goals of the festival – besides supplying plenty of entertainment for the community – is promoting Spring Hill’s businesses and giving a boost to the local economy.
“What we’re hoping is that festivalgoers help support some of our Spring Hill sponsors, especially in this recession,” she said.
Until the actual day of the festival, though, McKenzie said she is simply hoping for cool temperatures and good weather conditions. And, she warned, if there’s rain in the forecast for Sept. 18 and 19, come prepared.
“Wear a raincoat and carry an umbrella,” she laughed. “There’s no contingency plan.”
A full schedule for the Spring Hill Fall Festival is available at www.springhillks.com.