According to Paris Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tonya Baumgartner, the first Springtime in Paris event held last Saturday on Courthouse Square was a massive success.
“It was a wonderful day,” she said. “We couldn’t have asked for better weather. The crowds were better than I expected. From talking with vendors and the people who did the Kidz Zone attractions, the dollars spent were way more than anything we’ve ever had for a festival. The crowd was hard to estimate, but I bet we had at least 3,000 people.”
The event, which was centered on Express Street and the Eiffel Tower Park, benefited from temperatures in the low 80s and sunny skies. There were vendors on North Express Street and West Main Street, the western and northern sides of the Logan County Courthouse. There was entertainment from the stage at Eiffel Tower Park and a Kidz Zone on a half block of South Express Street. Events were also held at the Logan County Museum and the Coal Miners Memorial and Museum. And there were people everywhere.
The Springtime in Paris event was born when the PACC decided to end the Mount Magazine International Butterfly Festival after 19 years. The early April date also allowed the organization to have an event on Courthouse Square without worrying about hot summer weather negatively impacting crowds. For the last several years, the butterfly festival, which was held in late June, had been staged at the Logan County Fairgrounds in order to escape the hot concrete streets of Courthouse Square.
In fact, Baumgartner said the success of last Saturday’s event may prompt the return to downtown of Mount Magazine Frontier Day event, held each October.
“Some people are talking about bringing Frontier Day back to downtown,” Baumgartner said. “I’m definitely going to bring that before the board and we’ll certainly discuss it.”
Baumgartner added that some merchants downtown saw additional foot traffic during Springtime in Paris.
“I have heard from merchants who had a lot of traffic from the event,” she said. “I have been told that Cottontown Smokehouse completely sold out of food by 3 p.m. Food vendors at the festival did very well, too. Some of them sold out of food by 3 p.m.
“A lot of the vendors told me they can’t wait to come back,” Baumgartner said.