Archive for Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Festival moving to fairgrounds next summer

December 19, 2001

Tonganoxie Days is on the move.

The festival, held for the past 16 years in June, will move from downtown to the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds this summer.

"The car show is going to stay at the VFW Park because they like the space and the shade, in particular, for the cars," said Connie Torneden, organizer of the festival on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce. "It turned out to be a really good thing for them. The rest of the festival will be out in the administration building at the fairgrounds, which has some air-conditioning, which is nice."

The availability of more parking and electricity are a major reason for the move, Torneden said.For the past several years, a demolition derby and barbecue contest have been held at the fairgrounds during Tonganoxie Days. With the move of food vendors, and arts and crafts booths, to the fairgrounds, visitors should have a better opportunity to take in all that Tonganoxie Days offers, Torneden said.

The chamber of commerce board approved the move.

"We'd heard some input about things being a little bit spread out and there might be some validity to putting things in closer proximity," said Bill Grant, president of the chamber.

"We felt like consolidating back together was the number one reason for the convenience of visitors. From my perspective, let's try something different. Hopefully, we can maintain the success we have so far and expand that success by consolidating the activities."

Tonganoxie Days began in 1986 as a two-day event at the fairgrounds, where it was held for three or four years, Torneden said. Then the arts and crafts displays moved downtown, and the car show joined the rest of the festival downtown.

"At that time, some of the merchants said Tonganoxie Days should be downtown," Torneden said. "Now, we've got different businesses downtown, so it may be more of a hindrance than a help."

Torneden said she believes the 2002 festival site also will be better for visitors and vendors.

"There will be more parking, and I know it gets harder each year for the vendors and the public to not park in front of somebody's drive or sidewalk," she said.

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