The second annual Springfield Fall Festival is gearing up to be bigger and better than its inaugural event.
The event begins Friday at 5 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m., and it starts again Saturday at 10 a.m., lasting until 10 p.m.
“The turnout last year was amazing,” said Jamey Stancell of the Springfield Merchants Association, which stages the fall festival. “It was a great event. We had a lot of great entertainment. We had people galore. They were coming from everywhere. The reception has been great all year. People are looking forward to this event.”
Springfield’s Laurel Street will be closed from Second Street to Madison Street beginning Friday at noon.
Not only are crowds expected to be bigger, but there are more vendors and sponsors this year, too, Stancell said.
“Bigger sponsors have come on,” he said. “There is nothing cheap about this festival.”
Stancell said there are more than 60 arts and crafts and food vendors, and “they’re still calling every day. There are so many people who are truly interested.”
Zaxby’s is conducting a wing-eating contest, with $100 going to the winner. The cost to enter the adult contest is $5, and it will be held Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
A street dance will be held Friday at 8:30 p.m., and entertainment Saturday includes the Jimmy Wolling Band, Third Class Citizens and Josh Sanders will be the main attraction. Festival organizers also got Pooler’s Jared Wade.
“I’ve had people ask me for posters just because of the lineup,” Stancell said. “I think people will get a real treat.”
The stage will be set up next to city hall, and food vendors will locate in the lot between city hall and the Mars Theatre. The Mars also will be open for tours during the fall festival.
Effingham Health System is sponsoring bounce houses for kids, and other main sponsors include Eagle Distributing and Coca-Cola.
“There is something going on the whole time,” Stancell said. “There is always something going on.”
New this year is a car show, with a $20 entry fee for participants. The car show will be held Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
“There are plenty of trophies,” Stancell said. “It’s a great event for people who want to show off their cars and win a trophy and listen to some great music and enjoy the entire day.”
Beer sales will be held, and those wishing to purchase beer first will have to stop at an ID station. They can buy tickets to exchange for beers there.
Parking for the fall festival can be accomplished along any side street and at the lots across from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and across First Street from city hall.
Stancell pointed out the Springfield Fall Festival is different from the First Baptist Church of Springfield’s fall festival Oct. 18 at Ulmer Park.
Stancell said anyone wishing to volunteer may call him, and he also praised the efforts of the merchants association and Springfield City Council.
“My hat goes off to city council,” he said. “They do a lot for this festival. They understand the importance of this festival to the community and the county. We have worked hard to get quality entertainment. The merchants put in time, and they do a lot to help out with this festival. The festival is for people to come out and enjoy themselves.”
The fall festival also enables the city to show it is still vibrant, according to Stancell.
“Springfield has not died,” he said. “Springfield is on the rise. There are new businesses downtown, and there are probably going to come.”
Springfield Fall Festival
• When: Friday 5-10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
• Where: Along Laurel Street from Second Street to Madison Street