|CROWDING IN—Thousands gathered in downtown Mt. Sterling to celebrate October Court Days over the weekend. The festival hosted a number of vendors who sold handmade crafts, food and a variety of other items Oct. 14-17. Organizers say the event went off with few problems, and that crowds seemed to be up. this year. Photo by Brianna White.
|Weather boosts Court Days crowds
|By Tom Marshall
Senior Advocate writer
Clear skies and warm temperatures boosted attendance, which appeared to be up this year for the annual Court Days festival.
“The weather was perfect. That always has a lot to do with it,” local tourism director Tracy Pearce said. “You couldn’t have dialed in a better forecast. We had great crowds.”
She said crowds were especially large on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but dropped off a bit Monday, as many local people headed back to work.
Mayor Gary Williamson said the nice weather and strong crowds made for happy vendors. He said he was pleased with how smoothly the event came together.
The Mt. Sterling Police Dept. estimated the crowds at between 135,000 and 140,000 on Saturday, 115,000 and 120,000 on Sunday with a larger than normal turnout on Monday.
Chief David Charles said the dept. is able to ascertain attendance estimates, in part, on the flow of traffic into the community.
Overall, Pearce said this appeared to be one of best Court Days she’s seen since she came on board as tourism director in 2009.
Pearce said several people commented on the greater selection and less duplication of vendor booths that were here this year.
“I just felt like there was more of a selection of good quality things to buy,” she said. “If we can keep that trend going, that’s great.”
There was also a wide selection of food to choose from, a key attraction to many of those who attend the festival.
“The food was great and there was a lot of food to choose from,” Pearce said.
Vendors, likewise, appeared to be happy with the business they did and the work put into sprucing up the city in preparation for the festival, she said.
Pearce said she was pleased with the cooperation shown between local officials, including the police dept., public works dept. and Rumpke, which was prompt in removing trash before it piled up out of control.
People from out of town commented on how welcoming and cordial the community was during the festival, she said.
“Everyone just really pitched in,” she said.
Williamson was also complimentary of the work put in by those groups. He noted how quickly crews got the city cleaned afterward.
“On the city’s lots you couldn’t even tell we had Court Days,” the mayor said Tuesday.
Pearce said she was also pleased with the media coverage that the event received. She noted that all the Lexington television stations sent crews here to do stories on the festival.
The Advocate also does a festival preview each year.
Pearce said she wasn’t aware of any major problems over the weekend and was happy with how the festival came off without a hitch.
“I was relieved that everything fell into place and everyone was having a good time,” she said.
Charles said there were few problems reported over the course of the weekend.
“By and large this was the most congenial crowd we’ve had,” he said. “Everyone seemed to be in very good spirits and having a good time.”
The dept. did report 278 calls for service, including 16 medical emergencies, two dog bites, eight lost children and three lost adults. Twenty-eight vehicles were towed. Some of the typical calls involved domestic and shoplifting incidents, Charles said.
There were also a number of people who did not heed the city’s prohibition on pets at Court Days.
Charles said they were given the option to take their pets to a safe area and return to the festival.