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Merchants plan for annual Fall Festival

The count down to fall has begun and the Ennis Historic Downtown Merchants Association is moving into high gear preparing for the annual Autumn Days in Ennis Fall Festival.
The event, which is in its seventh year, will be held October 18 and Downtown Merchants Association president Nancy Swindell says guests can expect a few surprises as well as some favorite activities in the day’s schedule.
“The event has really grown and we are constantly trying to find new and exciting things for families to take part in,” she said. “We will still have some of the activities that have been favorites, but are hoping to introduce a few new ones as well.”
One new feature this year is a fish fry fund-raiser courtesy of the Ennis Railroad and Cultural Heritage Museum organization, Friends of the Museum and the museum board, who will be offering one free admission ticket to anyone purchasing a fish fry lunch. The fish fry will run from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and be held in the parking lot between the museum and the Ennis Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
The Ennis Arts Commission will sponsor the music stage and have already lined up a range of acts including performers from the Little Ennis Czechadees and several bands. The festival is primarily held on N.W. Main St, W. Knox St. and N. Dallas St. and will also feature a children’s entertainer who will perform a magic show as well as balloon art. The children’s aspect of the festival will have fall themed arts and crafts, a photo booth, petting zoo, pony rides and slides.
Swindell says the festival is a way for families to get together and spend the day having fun and enjoying each other while not focusing on the price of the activities.
“The downtown merchants wanted to host an event that is family friendly while at the same time promoting the local downtown merchants,” she said. “The effects of the economy are not just felt on the merchants and we know families are struggling too so we choose to offer most of the day’s activities for free to encourage people to come out. Generally, we are all so busy that everyone is going in different directions so it is an opportunity to see the whole family together.”
The Downtown Merchants Association are able to provide activities free of charge through the generosity of the local businesses that cover the cost of the services. Swindell is hopeful the community will once again make the festival possible.
“The local businesses have always been great to us and supported us to help the community have a great day and I am counting on them once again,” she said. “We will be sending out sponsorship letters this week to area businesses that participated last year, which will be followed by calling on new businesses that may want to help out. We do not ask for one business to do it all. We’ll gladly accept whatever anyone can give.”
Another popular attraction at the festival is “Scarecrow Alley” which is a way for local merchants to set up a booth in the downtown area during the festival to promote their business.
As for the future of the festival, Swindell has big dreams and hopes that a local service group or organization steps up to help organize an antique car show which she hopes will add more of a draw to the event.
“I think it would add more activities for the men to take part in and it would just be an added bonus for families that were already coming out to the event,” she said. Tourism Director Gina Rokas says the event is a staple for families and shows the hometown spirit of the community.
“This festival is a favorite among our local residents and visitors,” Rokas said. “It offers old-fashioned fun for the entire family and it gives us a chance to really show our hometown hospitality. This free festival has grown bigger each year, and it really reflects the charm and heart of our downtown merchants and the city.”
To help sponsor the event, contact Rokas at the ECVB at 972-878-4748 or Nancy Swindell at 972-875-8882. Look for updates on festival events on the ECVB’s Web site.

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Posted by on Aug 27 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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