De Soto Days faces detour
Max Atwell said preparations for De Soto Days was going well despite a late detour in planning.
The name of the annual late summer community festival was changed back to De Soto Days this year after a three-year run as the Watermelon Festival. The change was made to give organizers more flexibility in developing themes for the parade rather than using the watermelon theme each year, Atwell said.
This year's theme is "American Freedom," Atwell said.
Organizers have been presented with a late problem with the likelihood construction will be ongoing on 83rd Street from Shawnee east to Ferry during the Aug. 28 through 31 festival dates, Atwell said. But he said it was too early to tell what the consequences would be, particularly to the Saturday parade.
De Soto City Administrator Greg Johnson said 83rd Street and Penner Avenue were also scheduled for resurfacing in the coming months, but he didn't yet know the dates.
Atwell, however, said he didn't anticipate a problem from that road work. The project, which will involve stripping off existing asphalt for re-milling, went fast, he said.
Currently, the plan would probably be to re-route the parade a block north from 83rd to 82nd Street at Shawnee and then east to Miller Park, Atwell said. The parade may also be re-routed off Penner/83rd to travel past Hillside Village, which is scheduled to open in June. The parade traveled by the Cedar Grove senior complex when it was open, he said.
Parking shouldn't be a concern, Atwell said. Engineered Air has agreed to allow parking in its lot to the east of Miller Park. Organizers plan to make better use of the offer than in years past by having Boy Scouts direct vehicles to the lot and providing more advanced publicity, he said.
The street construction snags aside, festival organization is going well, Atwell said.
"We have people for all our committees, so we're not quite as understaffed as we were last year," he said. "We have a couple of food vendors already and entertainers lined up. Crafters are a little slow, but they always wait until the last minute."