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FestivALL 'experiment' went well, organizers say

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Organizers of FestivALL Fall say the event went well and they will consider having the event again next year.

The four-day event, an extension of the annual summertime arts and music event FestivALL, wrapped up Sunday evening with a Mountain Stage show.

Executive director Larry Groce said he and FestivALL partners will consider having the fall event again.

"So far it's been, I think, a successful experiment," Groce said, speaking to reporters at a news conference Sunday afternoon at Tricky Fish. "This is like dipping your toe in the water to test the pool."

This summer marked the eighth annual FestivALL.

Three months ago, organizers decided to try a similar event in the fall, Groce said. People had been asking him for a few years why he didn't have FestivALL events at other times of the year besides summer, he said. One reason they did not was because of the amount of time and effort the event takes, he said.

FestivALL Fall included several events that were already scheduled. Among them were East End Main Street's HallowEast, the Create West Virginia conference and the Charleston Light Opera Guild's production of "Hello! Dolly."

"We saw those things and they were ready to go so we thought, 'We'll try to do that and put a few other things on the agenda,'" Groce said.

Sunday's Carriage Trail Walk was cancelled because of rain. HallowEast went on in spite of the cold wet weather Saturday.

"The weather put a little damper on it but there was still a lot of people out and in costume, which is fun," Groce said.

"The whole idea of FestivALL and the brand we've tried to develop is built around getting people out doing things -- out of their houses and way from their computers and TV. ..."

Groce said if he decides to have it again next year, more events would be added.

"If we tried to do it again, we'll promote it more and invest more money into it," he said. "This was just a test."

Another part of FestivALL Fall was Taste of Fall. Participating restaurants offered customers a special menu item at a discount. At Tricky Fish, that special was two grilled mahi tacos with rice and beans.

Tricky Fish employee Michael Barnes said restaurant owners Jon and Keeley Steele are happy to be part of Taste of Fall.

"It's just more fun things to get people to visit the bars and restaurants," Groce said.

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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