Many days downtown

June 14, 2013 

By Sunday, most people that have been working nonstop in downtown Lee’s Summit since Thursday afternoon prior to Downtown Days are simply running on fumes.

Fumes of funnel cakes, fried foods and golf-cart gasoline. It’s actually not a bad mixture of smells.

Many have been wearing the same (washed of course each night) green or white shirt the entire weekend.

These volunteers are one of the many cogs that make downtown Lee’s Summit – and specifically this annual event – such a treasure.

Yes, we have street closures. Yes, there is massive cleanup involved.

But the exposure our downtown and city receive via tens of thousands of visitors is priceless. And in the dawn of social media, an event like Downtown Days gets to play out, virtually live, online and through many sources over the weekend.

Having been one of the many that "lived" downtown this past weekend, I want to be in the line that thanks the countless volunteers, business owners, city of Lee’s Summit staff and, most certainly, the Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street trio of Trisha Drape, Sarah Shore and Stacy Needles.

This event just gets more and more massive each year not only in size, but in the depth of which we expand just want we can accomplish with Downtown Days.

Three years ago, we added a BBQ competition courtesy of our friends at the Downtown Rotary Club.

Then we threw in some extra entertainment, more bands, more contests.

We have live art now and even a fashion show that drew hundreds to SW Main and Third Street on a Saturday evening.

This is the expansion of our event that allows us to grow beyond funnel cakes and Ferris wheels.

It’s the recognition that while, yes, if we fail with ideas, we will fail quickly and move on. But we shouldn’t be afraid to try new things while we’re inviting 80,000 people downtown over three days.

This is what Drape has brought to her role as DLSMS executive director and what we should continue to encourage as supporters of downtown.

And as much as I loved seeing a willingness to do, I also appreciated seeing the ownership in what is the heart of our city.

During Sunday cleanup – which certainly isn’t the most signed-up-for volunteer shift of the weekend, but is arguably the most vital – Councilman Rob Binney, City Manager Steve Arbo and I took on the City Hall garage structure as one of our projects that evening.

The garage had been heavily used that weekend – which is its purpose – and had all the signs of a festival weekend.

It was refreshing to see our city leaders and elected officials out doing and not just talking.

In fact, it was a symbol of the bigger piece of volunteerism and commitment that took place at Downtown Days this year.

Any hour given to downtown is well spent, in my opinion.

Thank you to everyone that gave those hours and continue to see the value in their investment.

John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail jbeaudoin@lsjournal.com.

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