Although the numbers aren’t final, organizers of the annual Downtown Days street festival believe this year’s event was a record-breaking one in terms of money raised and attendance.
Trisha Drape, executive director of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Inc., said the three-day event June 7-9 in downtown Lee’s Summit was successful for a variety of reasons, but mainly the efforts of volunteers, diverse vendors, activities and cooperating weather all played a part in the success.
“Our city and state officials really came out to help this year,” Drape said June 13. “We had Sen. Will Kraus, we had three council members, and we had City Manager Steve Arbo all volunteering during the event and most of those also volunteered for our cleanup.
“Nobody wants to do cleanup, but this year we had the most amazing volunteers. I say this sincerely; we could not have pulled it off as well as we did without the volunteers we had this year. They knew what they were doing, they came and did the dirty work, too, and we had a lot of compliments about the cleanup.”
Lee’s Summit Police Department officials acknowledged more than 80,000 people may have attended the event over the course of three days, and besides a few minor crowd-control issues, things were relatively quiet on the law enforcement front. One police official said it may have been the largest festival he has seen in the city in the 20 years he has been on the force.
“We just had amazing volunteers, but of course we had perfect weather,” Drape said. “We also did some new things this year that we think helped draw some attention. We had the crew from WHB 810 Radio, and I think they were doing remotes and call-ins all day on (June 7). We probably had our biggest Friday ever.
“Overall, people loved the music. We had great entertainment – the entertainment always goes very, very well. We had a good mix of vendors, and our fashion show; our first Fashion in the Streets, we had tons of people show up for that. We had no idea. You put a red carpet down the middle of Third Street – what was great about that was it was grassroots. That was the merchants putting that together. That was all local clothing and accessories and that went really, really well.”
Drape said although final numbers are not tallied for the amount of money raised, a preliminary read on this year’s take may exceed the net total of $75,000 raised last year, which was the highest total ever collected from Downtown Days, DLSMS’s main fundraiser.
“Our final numbers are not in, but I would say last year was a record-breaker,” she said. “This year has definitely beat last year. This was definitely a record-breaker as far as fundraising. The numbers are close enough that we know it’s substantially higher than last year. We’re just paying the last of the expenses, but it was definitely a record-breaker.”