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32nd annual Southside Fall Festival is up in the air

“If people don’t come, why would we put a festival on?” asked Gary Pettis, Vice Chairman of the Southside Fall Festival.

Posted: Jun 12, 2020 2:42 PM
Updated: Jun 13, 2020 11:48 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The 32nd annual Southside Fall Festival is up in the air.

Fear of a second wave of COVID-19 is the culprit behind the event organizer's hesitation.

“If people don’t come, why would we put a festival on?” asked Gary Pettis, Vice Chairman of the Southside Fall Festival. 

The weekend festival pulls in 30,000 people every year, 10,000 each day.

Those large crows sizes could become worrisome come the fall, so organizers put a feeler out on their Facebook page earlier this week. Organizers decided to poll the public to hear their thoughts.

“The question was, ‘if we hold the festival, will you come?’ and 87% said they would,” said Pettis. 

But Pettis said it's more than just getting the greenlight from festival goers, “We got several groups that help put this festival together and we have to make sure each of those groups would still come and help in the normal way they do.”

City departments, vendors and volunteers all have to agree to working the festival.

So, while event planners don't have a definitive answer at this moment, they're carrying on as planned. 

“Our theme is 'everyday heroes.' Honoring working men and women on the frontlines,” said Pettis. 

Organizers are hoping to see floats and kids dressed up as nurses, first responders and other frontline workers come this September. 

“We’re ready to do this. I think St. Joe is ready to get together as a group and have a party,” said Pettis. 

Southside festival planners will hold a group vote on July 13th to make a final decision on whether or not to hold the event.

If organizers decide to go ahead with the community event, the Southside Fall Festival will be held September 18-20th. 

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