by Mitchell Brown, Reporter
As summer gives way to fall, an annual Warrensburg tradition is returning. This year marks the third annual Burg Fest, scheduled for Friday and Saturday. The festival will showcase vendors, food, musicians and fun, with an emphasis on the local. Julie Turnipseed, executive director at Warrensburg Mainstreet Inc,. and Stormy Taylor, executive director at Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Johnson County, are two individuals who help to create and build the festival. Both spoke of connecting resources between their two organizations in order to make the festival happen.
Around four years ago, when Turnipseed moved to Warrensburg, she saw a void to fill.
“My job is downtown revitalization, so it just struck me pretty blatantly that this community did not have a fall festival,” Turnipseed said. “All we had was a homecoming day parade and basically a Halloween event. There wasn’t a lot going on. I thought, wow, this is a great opportunity to see something like this happen.”
“I think we began talking about it. We needed a festival. My board (at Warrensburg Main Street) was very interested, and the city became interested. That’s how we started,” Turnipseed continued. “Stormy and I got together, and it worked out. It’s been a perfect situation. We all work together as a team.”
Those involved in the planning of the festival are responsible for different elements of Burg Fest. Turnipseed was responsible for securing the entertainment for the festival, Taylor specialized in the children’s component of the festival, while Jill Purvis, event coordinator at Warrensburg Mainstreet Inc., secured the vendors. Purvis noted that 60 vendors are scheduled to be at the festival along with the music, food and general merriment. This year marks the first year Burg Fest will feature the Glow Run, similar to the Color Run, but with runners adorned in glow-in-the-dark accessories instead. Participants will register and then go on a 5K run at sundown scheduled for 8:00 p.m. on Friday.
The Glow Run is one part of a multifaceted and diverse festival. A musical facet is also a part of the festivities, with performances by Brandon Web, Emily Russell and the Tribe of Levites, the Lucky Dogs and the Nace Brothers. The diverse and eclectic array of events resumes the next day, with activities ranging from a Jujitsu martial arts performance to a wing eating contest.
One alteration concerning this year’s Fest is that it is set to run for two days, instead of three, as was the case in previous years. Turniupseed said the decision was based on a lackluster Sunday turnout in the past.
Along with the various amenities and activities of the festival, Taylor said she believes the most important component of Burg Fest is the sense of community that Burg Fest strengthens and displays.
“For Big Brothers, Big Sisters , we continually ask the community to help us and support us,” Taylor said. “For us it’s a way to give back.”
“Having lived here now for almost 20 years, being able to walk into downtown and for there to be thousands of people walking around, it’s great. Instead of having to go to someone else’s town to see that, you can see it right here, here in your home.”
More information, including a detailed scheduled, is located at www.theburgfest.org