Downtown Sedalia will be abuzz with activity Saturday as stilt walkers, pony rides, vendors and food trucks move into Gazebo Park.
Spring into Summer Fest is co-sponsored by Laura Stoltenberg with That One Place Market LLC, the City of Sedalia and the Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce.
City Planner Raeanne Spears said Sedalia is trying to foster an artist-type culture downtown and Saturday’s event is one way to highlight that goal.
“This really falls into that mission,” she said Tuesday. “It’s really something we’re trying to focus on right now.
“Beyond just showcasing some artists that we have, it also gives vendors a chance to sell their product,” she continued. “Whereas they might not necessarily be able to do so throughout the year. So, it gives more opportunity for small businesses to come together and celebrate ...”
Spears and Stoltenberg said they hope to make the event a biannual festival, with one event hosted in the spring and one in the fall.
“Something she (Stoltenberg) brought up is there is very few events of a large scale that really brings the community together to celebrate the arts,” Spears noted. “We do have an art walk every now and then.
“However, she’s wanting this to eventually expand and be something that people can count on every year or biyearly,” she added. “In the last few months, I’ve launched the Downtown Sedalia Alliance and with that, we’re trying to align people who are already doing great things downtown and just help bring people together.”
Spears said Summer Fest is the first event for the alliance to sponsor since it began.
“This event has been really driven by Laura, and Debra (Andresen) and I have just kind of been her support system,” she noted. “So, really all credit is due to Laura and we’re excited to see it.”
Chamber Executive Director Debra Andresen said once contacted about the festival, she told Spears the chamber would like to help promote downtown.
“We’re just trying to get the community aware of the different stores they have downtown,” Andresen explained. “I think sometimes people don’t realize the jewels that we have downtown with those shops.
“Some of them have been there a long time,” she continued. “And we have a lot of new businesses that are opening up downtown. It’s a great way to get people downtown and support our local businesses, especially with everything that’s going on with COVID right now.”
Stoltenberg told the Democrat this is her fourth event. She organized three others at her previous location on West 32nd Street. Earlier this year, she moved the business downtown, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic and family illness, That One Place Market is now located inside Nostalgia Vintage Apparel.
On Tuesday, Stoltenberg said the Saturday event already has 40 arts and crafts, boutique and direct sales vendors. Five food trucks will be represented — Wrap it Up of Columbia, Kona Ice of Sedalia, Mama’s Mini Donuts, a barbecue food truck from Kansas City, and a cheesecake food truck.
“We are just working together to get the word out,” Stoltenberg said of the city and chamber. “With us being downtown, we want to get some local businesses involved too and let them get the word out. And hopefully we can grow off of it.”
Stoltenberg said the event will also have stilt walkers with JM Entertainment of Columbia. Kevin Wilson of Syracuse will provide live music and Ashton Rhine with Rockin’ Cross Pony Rides and Parties will provide pony rides and a petting zoo.
She added Summer Fest has free admission and it is a family-centered event.
“We’re looking forward to it being bigger and better come fall,” Stoltenberg said.
Spring into Summer Fest will be hosted from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Gazebo Park at West Second Street and South Ohio Avenue. Admission is free. For more information, call Stoltenberg at 620-338-4775 or email email@example.com.