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Downtown Longview's AlleyFest moves to cooler dates

By Glenn Evans
Oct. 11, 2011 at 10 p.m.

AlleyFest is moving to May, with organizers scuttling the traditional June weekend setting for the arts festival in favor of a cooler climate.

"With the type of heat that we had last year - we were giving away water and we had (emergency medical technicians) running as fast as they could," said Longview Chamber of Commerce President Kelly Hall. "It was a safety issue."

Temperatures the first weekend of June long have been a challenge for AlleyFest, Longview's three-day arts, food and music celebration. As school districts moved graduations into June in recent years, organizers hoped more families would join crowds shopping handmade arts or swaying to live bands at the downtown festival.

"We built on that," Hall said, adding that families didn't seem to turn out in large numbers after spending the afternoon at graduation in a hot stadium.

The new date is May 11-13, and Hall said organizers want that second weekend of May to be AlleyFest's permanent home.

One Hundred Acres of Heritage/Main Street, which produces AlleyFest, announced the change Tuesday on the event's Facebook page.

Volunteers, who might be the most grateful for the cooler weekend, can begin watching the Facebook page for opportunities to sign up, she said.

Hall said the new date was chosen in collaboration with exhibitors. AlleyFest Director Elaine Reynolds also scoured area event schedules to avoid clashing with other nearby festivals, Hall said.

"It's a Longview festival, but it still attracts a lot of people from the area, from daytime travel," Hall said.

She also expressed hope the new date, which places the festival within the school year, will open the door for more student participation.

"What we're hoping will happen is, whether from an education venue, from a performing arts venue - wherever that takes shape - this will be an opportunity to involve the students," she said.

Hall added the earlier AlleyFest should provide a more lively setting. She likened it to Six Flags Over Texas, which is much easier to negotiate with temperatures in the 80s instead of 90s or higher.

"We want to create that same, fun appeal for AlleyFest," she said. "When you walk in, we want that energy to be going. And when you're there, you're going to be eating and shopping and listening to the entertainment."



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