Ozark Or­chard Fes­ti­val ‘Out­stand­ing’

McDonald County Press - - FRONT PAGE - Sally Car­roll

The crowd was so hun­gry that His Table Min­istry vol­un­teers ran out of smoked chicken and pulled pork at the Ozark Or­chard Fes­ti­val on Satur­day.

Vol­un­teers worked hard to pre­pare and serve up a free lunch, giv­ing away the smoked chicken and pulled pork un­til it was gone, in ad­di­tion to 200 ham­burg­ers and 300 hot dogs.

Good­man Mayor Greg Rich­mond es­ti­mates that ap­prox­i­mately 500 to 700 peo­ple at­tended the fes­ti­val on Satur­day at the Good­man ball­park.

That es­ti­mate is con­ser­va­tive; oth­ers be­lieve the num­ber might be closer to 1,000 peo­ple who came to ex­pe­ri­ence the fam­ily-friendly event.

Rich­mond said the suc­cess could be at­trib­uted to nu­mer­ous vol­un­teers, ven­dors and all those who helped see the fes­ti­val to fruition.

“The fes­ti­val went great,” Rich­mond said. “It was out­stand­ing. We had a good crowd and good weather. We thank all the spon­sors, all the con­trib­u­tors, the vol­un­teers — those who are seen and those who are not seen.”

The event, which took place on Satur­day at the Good­man

ball­park, fea­tured bouncy houses, a 50/50 pot and pet­ting zoo, games, ven­dor booths, free food and live mu­sic.

The city of Good­man hosts the fes­ti­val each year to bring the com­mu­nity to­gether. This year’s event was the third an­nual fes­ti­val.

The city re­ceived a great deal of sup­port with do­na­tions in checks and items, Rich­mond said.

Cor­ner­stone Bank and First Com­mu­nity Bank each con­trib­uted a siz­able do­na­tion to­ward the fes­ti­val. Nearly ev­ery Good­man busi­ness, as well as sev­eral in Neosho, do­nated goods to be auc­tioned or other items for the fes­ti­val, Rich­mond said.

The fes­ti­val — held on the last Satur­day of each Septem­ber — is a way to con­nect neigh­bors and en­cour­age fam­i­lies to come out and let their chil­dren have fun.

The fes­ti­val also cel­e­brates the her­itage of the area, which was known for acres and acres of ap­ples and pro­vided a great eco­nomic im­pact, Rich­mond said.

For Linda “Granny” Gill, the fes­ti­val was fun and en­ter­tain­ing. Gill was one of sev­eral peo­ple to do­nate goods for the auc­tion at Satur­day’s fes­ti­val. She was amazed at the bid amounts on her baked goods, which she said went for “high dol­lar.”

On Satur­day, Rich­mond walked around dur­ing the fes­ti­val, vis­it­ing with nu­mer­ous neigh­bors who came down to the ball­park.

He spoke with sev­eral peo­ple who were glad the city hosted the event.

“Peo­ple were hav­ing a great time, en­joy­ing the food and fel­low­ship,” he said.

In the fu­ture, or­ga­niz­ers hope to cre­ate more foot traf­fic with a truck show or trac­tor show, along with more games for the chil­dren, Rich­mond said.

Long-term, fes­ti­val of­fi­cials hope to raise enough money to give Good­man chil­dren an op­por­tu­nity to en­joy the out­doors.

“We want to work to­ward putting some play­ground equip­ment to ben­e­fit the kids down at the ball­park,” Rich­mond said.

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