GMM begins looking at '09 festival

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Goats, Music and More Festival Committee held their usual lunch meeting on Monday to talk over this month's festival and start making plans for next year.

October 2009 seems a long way away, but Lisa Jackson told the group she's already had a call from someone who wants to be a food vendor at the next festival.

Greg Lowe reported that 96 percent of the 60 surveys he got back were positive and complimentary. He said the advertising had gone well, and there were visitors from all 50 states, and from 67 Tennessee counties.

Lowe will seek a grant that is available to advertise the festival as a tourism event and, if he is successful, the grant will cover all the ads he placed this year and more.

He is going to submit the Goats, Music and More Festival to the Southeast Tourism Society for inclusion in its prestigious Top 20 Events designation. The Top 20 Events publication is sent to over 1,600 media outlets.

Jimmy Stitt reported that the parking went well while his volunteers handled it, but degenerated into chaos when they left at 3 p.m. The group resolved that next year the volunteers would handle the parking until 6 p.m. and then hand over to the police department. Stitt was also responsible for the transfer of golf carts from the Rec Center to Rock Creek Park and everyone agreed having the carts had been a big help.

Siting a dumpster there encouraged the vendors to clean up after themselves, and City Manager Eddie Fuller said he even heard a request for a recycling container.

"I'm satisfied if they throw it in the garbage," exclaimed Fuller.

The city workers were commended for doing an outstanding job on the overnight cleanups of the park.

"They're beginning to get proud of it," said committee member Pat Taylor. Taylor has just been named as the go-to person for the whole goat section of the 2009 festival.

"They loved the prizes again this year," reported Terri Fowler, who said goat show competitors told her "of every show they go to ours are the best."

A new section of the community is getting involved: Lowe reported that the Marshall County High School media students had taken a lot of pictures at the festival and were preparing a promotional DVD. Additionally, the staff of the MCHS annual is going to help with next year's brochure.

Improvements for next year's festival might include a policeman stationed in the fainting goat tent to prevent visitors from trying to get the goats to faint by startling them.

A portable ATM facility is a possibility for future festivals, and so is the provision of more power points and a dump station for recreational vehicles.

The 5K run paid for itself, so it will probably be added to the list of regular Goat Fest events. More tie-dyed tee shirts are a certainty. "That was the number one request," said Monette Fagan, who reported that everything went great with her crew of dedicated volunteers.

Check out the website for thanks to the sponsors, goat show results, and lots of pictures.