CLAYTON -- Plans for next year’s Harvest Festival are already on the minds of its planners less than one week after this year’s event closed.
With a successful festival behind them, co-chairs Diane Bean and James Lipscomb are considering what they might do differently next year and what events might be brought back as Harvest Festival traditions.
In past years, planning for the September festival began in January, but the Chamber of Commerce will have to start earlier than that if they plan to have another major sponsor like Pepsi or secure a major name in entertainment.
“If we’re gonna line up another large name, that’s something we’d need to focus on as soon as possible,” Bean said. “There’s always the rumor that maybe Scotty (McCreery) might come back. It’s always in the back of our minds to see if we can make those arrangements happen.”
McCreery is responsible for making Clayton Idol one of the most popular Harvest Festival events after he won in 2009 and went on to become an American Idol. Bean said the committee is considering expanding Clayton Idol to include a third age group for 18 to 24 year olds. Right now, judges crown a Clayton Idol in the 12 to 18 age group and a Junior Idol in the 5 to 11 age group.
“I think there’s just some people that would add to and enhance it, and maybe we could get more people involved in it,” Bean said.
Opportunities to sing and dance were big hits this year, and Bean said they plan to bring back the karaoke competition at the stage by the Hometowne Realty office. Nearly 400 people came out to the competition where judges crowned a karaoke king and queen.
The festival also boasted its first dance party this year hosted by DPM Studios, where they taught some dances and let loose with a masquerade theme.
“It was something unique,” Lipscomb said. “Considering it being the first year I think they went wonderfully.”
Next year, Lipscomb said they’re hoping to expand the festival area and block off more of Main Street. The car show on Saturday barely fit 125 cars as about 19,000 people came out to Main Street to check out the classic cars and the vendor fair.
They’re also hoping to incorporate a Latino Festival which fell through this year. Bean said they’d like to have a festival within the festival for Latino music, food and crafts.
“We need somebody that’s from and close to that community to be able to help us put that together,” Lipscomb said. “We need help reaching out to that community.”
In general, Lipscomb said he wants more folks to get involved and offer up their ideas and creativity.
“We need volunteers and we need the creativity,” Lipscomb said. “We love to be patted on the back and told we’ve done a good job, but we’d also love to be challenged and be told, ‘here’s something you’re missing.’ We’re trying to include as many people as would like to be included in the festival.”