Sister Bay Fall Fest Meeting Generates New Ideas

They asked Door County and the community answered.

In an effort to improve the 66th Annual Fall Festival (Oct. 14-16, 2011), the Sister Bay Advancement Association (SBAA) asked Door County residents to share their ideas and opinions at an open forum January 13. Business owners from a wide variety of businesses – art galleries, restaurants, retail, real estate, funeral services – turned out to share their suggestions for improving Fall Fest.

The conversations focused on five categories:

  • family friendly activities;
  • the parade and ping pong ball drop/shoot;
  • the arts and crafts fair and fees for vendors;
  • street closures, transportation and parking; and
  • food and beverage.

SBAA, the community business member organization that organizes Fall Fest, is working to improve or make changes to these areas of the festival. Families with kids of all ages are encouraged to attend Fall Fest, and many do by the showing at the parade and ping pong ball shoot. However, the party atmosphere at the top of the hill deters some families.

In light of concerns expressed, SBAA is working to increase the number of family friendly activities by potentially hosting such activities as Carnival-type rides, a fun run and music – just a few ideas. These activities would likely be centered around the recently expanded Waterfront Park.

Parking and transportation into and out of Fall Fest is consistently a headache for residents and visitors alike. At Fall Fest 2010, people were seen parking almost two miles away to walk to the downtown area. Research will be conducted on suggestions made for a Park ‘n Ride system, utilizing vacant property and parking lots of closed stores or churches.

The final question on everyone’s mind: alcohol and Fall Fest. Fall Fest began as a fundraiser for non-profit organizations and an end-of-season celebration for locals, and continues to be one of the biggest annual money makers for many Door County organizations. SBAA wants to continue this tradition, and recognizes that alcohol sales are a significant portion of funds raised. The most significant, potential change discussed was to limit the size of drink vessels to 16 oz. plastic cups, and to require that vendors refuse to fill up larger sized vessels. Much of the weight behind this discussion comes from the Village of Sister Bay. Currently, the Village Parks Committee is discussing limiting the size of alcohol containers at all outdoor festivals in Sister Bay.

Fall Fest will continue. SBAA is simply working on ways to keep Fall Fest a fun event for visitors and residents alike.

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