Sunshine, smiles punctuate successful festival

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Staff Report
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Almost as soon as the hustle and bustle arrives, it moves on to the next town.

The work involved with creating the temporary village of stages, booths and carnival rides is staggering. Structures tower over downtown Parker, making for an odd, albeit short-lived, skyline. Joyful noises and a collective of wonderful smells pour from Mainstreet and O’Brien Park.

The time and effort involved in making sure everything goes according to plan is no easy feat either. Events, Etc., an event planning firm hired by the Parker Chamber of Commerce, made a few minor tweaks to the configuration that helped foot traffic flow more smoothly. Delightful weather also was part of the recipe for success in 2013.

Attendance at this year’s Parker Days Festival closely matched numbers from 2012. Dan Rodriguez, president of the Parker chamber, said 120,000-140,000 people attended the three-day festival and sales figures closely matched those seen in 2012.

Organizers saw a “substantial increase” in traffic on Friday after scheduling the headlining music act then instead of Saturday, but Saturday remained the busiest day, Rodriguez said. Sunday attendance was down roughly 10-20 percent, partly because of light early afternoon rain showers and the fact that it was Father’s Day.

More carnival rides, an improved sound system, and a change to the VIP tent were the result of notes taken by event officials last year.

“The changes made things more comfortable,” Rodriguez said. “We got great responses from people who attended with the entertainment choices, the buskers in downtown, pretty much everything.”

The festival generates $75,000-$100,000 for the Parker Chamber of Commerce, which uses the proceeds on member programs throughout the year. It also generated an estimated $2.5 million economic impact for the surrounding businesses.

Space has become tighter because of increased development, but Rodriguez said the festival could extend east in the downtown district. When the vacant land is developed, the chamber might have to have discussions about moving the festival, although Rodriguez said those are at least two years out.

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