Or­ga­niz­ers Say First Fri­day Sea­son Suc­cess­ful

McDonald County Press - - COUNTY - Sally Car­roll

An idea bor­rowed from an Arkansas neigh­bor proved to bring the Noel com­mu­nity to­gether this year.

Noel Bet­ter­ment As­so­ci­a­tion of­fi­cials are con­sid­er­ing launch­ing the First Fri­day events again next year, thanks to pos­i­tive feed­back from the com­mu­nity, said Bet­ter­ment As­so­ci­a­tion trea­surer De­nae Mur­phy.

Plans are not ap­proved, but of­fi­cials will re­group and dis­cuss op­tions for next year. If the or­ga­ni­za­tion de­cides to host the First Fri­day sea­son again, of­fi­cials may launch the events only dur­ing the sum­mer months with food trucks and the same for­mat as this year, Mur­phy said.

Noel Bet­ter­ment As­so­ci­a­tion of­fi­cials got the idea for a First Fri­day event from Ben­tonville, Ark., which hosts themed com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing a First Fri­day sea­son.

Mur­phy said the idea seemed like it would work well for the Noel com­mu­nity, which begins to buzz on Satur­days due to its tourism in­dus­try.

Many of the Bet­ter­ment vol­un­teers — as well as other com­mu­nity vol­un­teers — are busy on Satur­days, work­ing in the ca­noe out­fit­ter or camp­ing busi­nesses, she said.

Or­ga­niz­ers thought the First Fri­day idea would al­low Bet­ter­ment vol­un­teers and oth­ers to help with the event while at­tract­ing vis­i­tors to come back af­ter set­ting up their camp for the week­end.

“We thought it would work well for the dy­namic of our town,” Mur­phy said.

The idea for First Fri­day in Noel was born.

Of­fi­cials first launched a sum­mer First Fri­day pro­gram for June and July, with a back-to-school bash in Au­gust. Of­fi­cials then ex­panded the sea­son into the fall with a movie in Septem­ber and an Oc­to­ber­fest Chili Cookoff.

“It has been re­ally pos­i­tive for the com­mu­nity,” she said.

The free, fam­ily-friendly events ap­pealed to vary­ing ages. Events fea­tured ven­dors, live mu­sic, food trucks, kids’ ac­tiv­i­ties and a free in­flat­able for chil­dren. Ven­dors were able to set up their ex­hibits at no cost.

The only event that wasn’t sup­ported well was the movie in Septem­ber, which had to be resched­uled be­cause of rain.

Bet­ter­ment of­fi­cials still faced the $350 price tag for the movie, since they had planned to fea­ture Show

Dogs, Mur­phy said.

Though costs were de­frayed with a $500 do­na­tion from Tyson of­fi­cials ear­lier in the sea­son, the Bet­ter­ment As­so­ci­a­tion had hoped for a bet­ter turnout for the movie, she said.

Of­fi­cials re­cently com­pleted the Oc­to­ber event, the last of the First Fri­day run. Vol­un­teers with the or­ga­ni­za­tion will re­visit plans for next year and see if they want to pur­sue the First Fri­day events again, she said.

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