De Soto Days primed for weekend
Parade route moved back to downtown
The De Soto Days Festival Parade will travel its customary route of Penner Avenue and 83rd Street.
Festival Committee Chairman Max Atwell said that decision was made Monday evening in the face of strong public sentiment. Because of anticipated street construction -- which now won't start until September -- the festival's parade committee made arrangements for an alternate route that used 84th, 85th and Ottawa streets.
"I guess you could say it was by popular demand," Atwell said. "I told them it was better to make three people mad than 100."
The flap over the route overshadowed the good the parade committee did in organizing the event, Atwell said. Parade committee member Diane Cochran said the parade has 70 entries.
"I think it should be at least an hour, because we have all the units of the Shriners coming," cles and who knows how many antique cars."
Late entries that always show up on the day would swell the parade's numbers, Cochran said.
That wasn't the only good response, Atwell and committee member Kathy Ross said. There were more demands for food booths than the committee could grant, Ross said.
About 30 crafters and vendors have reserved booths for the craft area, Atwell said. This year, three vendors would be at the festival Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The three vendors all provided temporary body decorations, Atwell said. One offered face painting for children, another airbrushed tattoos for teens, and the third East Indian body art for adults.
One critical factor in attendance is beyond the control of festival organizers. Atwell said he hoped temperatures cooled for Friday and Saturday as forecast.
A decision made by the festival committee might provide slightly cooler temperatures next year. Atwell said it was decided to keep scheduling the festival for Labor Day weekend. Labor Day next year falls on the first weekend of September, not the last weekend of August, which has been the date of the festival for the past few years.
The reason for keeping the Labor Day date, he said, was the availability of the Evans Midland Empire Games.
"The problem is you lose your carnival; you lose your draw," he said. "It's a nice carnival. The equipment is in good shape. It's done a lot for us."