2015 Maple Festival A Success
The 2015 Highland County Maple Festival has come and gone, and Chamber of Commerce executive director Dorothy Stephenson reflected on the success of the event.
“The Maple Festival went good, we had a lot of visitors. The second Saturday was of course, busier than the first Saturday. I’d heard reports of traffic being backed up the mountain about two miles. As much as that probably makes town pretty congested and frustrated for some people, I think that’s a sign of success when we have traffic backed up that far.
“One of the biggest things that I heard consistently from vendors and visitors from outside the county was how good the people here are, how friendly Highland is, how helpful everybody is all the time.”
The first weekend’s inclement weather proved the most difficult challenge in her first year as event organizer.
“Well, I didn’t expect to have a tornado Sunday morning. But, all in all, it wasn’t bad. We were up in the courthouse yard, and just held down tents as best we could, prayed for the best, and hoped the worst didn’t come.”
Ms. Stephenson shared some ideas she has for improvements for next year.
“There’s a lot of different things that I’d like to do, nothing really majorly big, just a few tweaks, things that just make the Festival more efficient, flow smoother. Possibly look into something that will help with the traffic situation on these bigger days. I don’t know if there is anything that can realistically be done, but I want to look into some ideas.
“So many times we get calls to the office – what’s the weather doing, where’s this for the Maple Festival, where’s that for the Maple Festival, how long does it take to get here, different questions like that. I want to do an FAQ/Q&A for the website, and maybe put a WeatherBug app on our website, so people can see the weather in real time if they’re coming across the mountains, that way they can plan better.
“Another thing that I wanted to improve upon was a up to date vendor list. We had a lot of requests from locals and visitors alike about where the vendors were, who were the vendors, what they were selling. So one thing I want to work towards next year is to create a hard copy vendor list, but also a vendor list that people can go on the website and see, where the vendors are going to be, what they are going to be selling, and even possibly link to their website or online presence.”
She also spoke about the Chamber office’s upcoming relocation.
“The Chamber of Commerce will be moving from The Highland Center, of course, with the restoration going on, to the former Fantastic Finds/Grady’s Barbershop/Rexrode Masonry location across from the courthouse. We found a presence on Main Street, thought it would good, both for the Chamber of Commerce, local businesses, partnering with The Highland Center, and supporting local business. We’re definitely going to miss our building mates here at The Highland Center, but I think it will be a good move for the Chamber.”