Thousands of people “buttoned down the hatches” last weekend and rocked Red Flannel Day in lots of red and even dressed in Red Flannel pirate garb.
Red Flannel Festival President Michele Andres said that the mild, mostly dry weather brought thousands of people downtown. “Anytime we can have warm, dry weather the attendance soars. All events indicated attendance up from last year,” she said.
Andres said that the earlier time of the Firefighter Memorial Parade generated a lot of visitors downtown on Friday evening, with the highest attendance of the carnival on any previous Friday evening.
“For the first year, the Festival had television commercials on FOX 17 (instead of Charter) and we believe that boosted attendance as well,” explained Andres.
New this year was a trolley to move people to different venues. “The trolley was well utilized, and since it is a new event this year, we believe the awareness will increase next year,” noted Andres. “It made a large loop around the City with several stops at different venues until the Parade started.”
“The trolley was a fun addition to the Festival and those who rode it appreciated having that service,” added RFF second Vice President Anna Nozkowski.
Missing this year was the Cedar Springs Fire Department’s old Model A fire engine. According to Fire Chief Marty Fraser, it is being restored and was not available for use. Instead of the Fire engine, Keystone Cops used golf carts and the Trolley to haul people to jail for not wearing red.
On the down side, the tractor pulls were canceled due to the condition of the track (too much rain).
Andres said that overall, the Red Flannel Board of Directors received several compliments on a great Festival and believe it all went extremely well. “Nine volunteer board members (4 of them new this year) did an outstanding job!” she remarked.
The Board will take a hiatus until the end of January, when planning for the 75th Festival will begin.