Jenell Austin said she's expecting a bigger and better Fulton Street Fair this year.
The annual event began Thursday evening with the carnival. This afternoon, the festival in Fulton's Brick District downtown will really get going with the ice cream social, Callaway Cup mule derby race, vendors, washers tournament and live music. The action continues Saturday with the fun run, Kiddie Corral, parade, button door prize drawing and more live music among other events. Arm bands for the carnival are $20 each night.
Last year's Fulton Street Fair, held mainly on Court Street from Memorial Park at Fourth Street to St. Louis Avenue, had an estimated crowd of 8,000 to 10,000 people, according to Austin, the fair's chairperson.
"We're hoping for a bigger turnout than last year," Austin told the Fulton Sun on Thursday.
She said the goal is 15,000 attendees. Austin boasted that there's a variety of attractions.
"There's fun activities for all ages," Austin said.
She noted that vendor booth space is sold out and includes crafts like jewelry and woodworking.
There's also a variety of music.
"I am most excited about Trampeled Under Foot," Austin said, referring to the headliner band scheduled to perform at 8:30 p.m. Saturday on The Callaway Bank Stage at Fifth Street. "I've heard amazing things about them."
There have been some schedule changes since it was last posted in the Fulton Sun on Thursday. The band Mere Mortals will perform at 6 p.m. Saturday on the Ameren Stage at Sixth Street.
Saturday's parade starts at 5 p.m. Saturday and follows Court Street from 10th Street south to St. Louis Avenue then goes to Nichols Street to conclude at Memorial Park. Lineup for the parade is at 4 p.m. Austin said she expects more entries than in the past few years and those wanting to participate can still do so just by showing up behind the sorority houses on 12th Street on the William Woods University campus at 4 p.m. She asked that parade participants enter 12th Street via Westminster Avenue rather than Nichols Street.
Absent from the parade this year will be the traditional kazoo band. Austin said no one was available to lead it this year but hopes for its return in the future.
Activities for children will be featured as well.
"I think this is going to be the best Kiddie Corral we've had," Austin said.
The Kiddie Corral is open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in Memorial Park and features bounce houses, face painting and a magician among other activities. Adjacent to the Kiddie Corral will be the touch-a-truck that includes the Staff for Life medical helicopter from University of Missouri Hospital.
The helicopter is scheduled to land in the park about 9 a.m. and take off between 11:30 a.m. and noon. Austin noted that's barring a medical emergency that would require the a patient to flown for medical care.
While Street Fair Committee members are expecting good weather, they are taking extra precautions. This year, there are four designated emergency shelters in case of inclement weather. Fair-goers can seek shelter in Fulton City Hall, Callaway County Courthouse, First Christian Church and Callaway County Library. Gary Jungermann said arrangements have been made for those facilities to be open and ready for the public should dangerous weather occur during the fair.