City Commission approves, supports festivals in Fort Scott

During their meeting Tuesday evening, the Fort Scott City Commission approved the dates for the Marmaton Massacre Festival at Gunn Park in July and agreed to provide funding to the Second Story Festival of Arts and Ideas to be held in April.

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“There’s a lot of work that goes into putting on these events,” said Frank Halsey, who has been overseeing the creation of the bike trails in Gunn Park.

The 2016 Marmaton Massacre Festival will be held July 9-10, and will again include not just its race as part of the United Federation of Dirt series, but also a race for children, refreshments and live music from the Vogt Sisters. Halsey said their goal is to create an event for the entire community and not just for cyclists.

“We really want the community to come out and enjoy the festival atmosphere,” Halsey said.

Halsey also gave an update on the bike trails, saying they are now up to about seven miles and are now landlocked until they find more land to work with. In 2015, three events were held on the trails, bringing in numerous out-of-town visitors and spreading the word about the trails at Gunn Park.

“I want to thank you all for allowing us to do this venture, because I think it’s been very profitable for everybody,” Halsey said.

Recently, the trails were also awarded a grant that would provide signage that would have maps of and information about the trails as well as the park itself. It will also soon launch their own website.

“It’s a real asset to the community,” commissioner Jim Adams said, adding that he has visited the trails and enjoyed them.

Director of Economic Development Heather Smith also gave an update on the Second Story Festival of Arts and Ideas, to be held in downtown Fort Scott April 8-9, promoting not just the arts but entrepreneurship as well.

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“I think it will be a really great weekend,” Smith said. “There are a lot of people working really hard on this.”

On Friday, the festival will include a time of question and answer as well as table talks on start-up businesses and the steps that need to be taken to make them successful. There will also be a networking reception and possibly a guest speaker.

The festival will then shift from the innovative said of the event to the arts on Saturday, with a water-color session, cooking demonstration, lesson on poetry, pottery workshop and other visiting artists and authors, including one who will share information on children’s literature.

Smith informed the commissioners that they applied for an innovative partnership grant because of the arts and ideas emphasis of the festival and was awarded with a $7,000 matching grant. The area community foundation provided $5,000 while the local arts council gave $2,000 to help match the grant.

The commissioners unanimously agreed to provide the remaining $2,000 from the economic development budget.

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