Archive for Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spring Fling blossoms

April 24, 2008

Although its two predecessors were successful, FCB Bank's Mary Guntert is surprised by the respond to the bank' third community appreciation day.

The so-called Downtown De Soto Spring Fling started to morph into its 2008 character during a conversation Guntert had with friend Linda Rumsey at the Bleu Tomato in downtown De Soto.

"She said that was about the time they were going to open their gallery and maybe we could do something together," Guntert said. "The Bleu Tomato gals said, 'Wait a minute, we'd like to get in on this too."

As it turned out, the spring event didn't coincide with the opening of Gil Rumsey Studio in downtown De Soto, but that didn't stop the idea of grafting a community celebration onto FCB Bank's appreciation day first discussed in that luncheon conversation from taking wing far beyond Guntert's expectations.

"Maybe it was the long, cold winter and everybody wants to enjoy the warm weather," she said. "Or maybe the slow economy has businesses looking for a way to reach customers."

Whatever the reason, as many as 30 business and organizations were represented at planning meetings the last two months, Guntert said. And those businesses will provide $3,500 in prizes and gift certificates at the event, including a gas grill and accessories donated by FCB Bank.

The result will be a celebration of spring and De Soto businesses from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday on 83rd Street from Shawnee to Peoria streets. The event will feature the Lexington Trails Middle School jazz band, LuLu the Clown, music by local bluegrass musician Larry Inman, an inflatable moonwalk and food from Barbecue Bills and the Bleu Tomato.

FCB Bank is still the official sponsor but has been willing to let other businesses and the De Soto Chamber of Commerce become involved, Guntert said. De Soto's other two banks, Great American and Team banks, have joined the celebration as has Engineered Air Inc. and Mr. Goodcents, she said.

"Sara at the chamber has helped a lot," Guntert said.

The chamber was happy to help with an event that showcased downtown and De Soto businesses, De Soto Chamber of Commerce executive director Sara Ritter said. Because the chamber isn't the official sponsor, Spring Fling was open to all.

Guntert and Ritter expect local business and organizations to line two-blocks of downtown with booths. Among those that will be present are the De Soto Relay For Life, the city of De Soto - which have pool memberships available - and Dean Weller's car club.

"If the weather is nice, I expect a big crowd," Guntert said.

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