Stormy skies interrupt carnival rides

People fill the streets at the Liberty Fall Fest before the storm

Along with the conclusion of William Jewell College’s homecoming week, the fourth weekend of September brought with it the annual Fall Festival – three days of carnival rides, food trucks and stalls of handcrafted wares transforming Liberty, Missouri’s downtown streets. 

Alas, this year’s festival was abruptly interrupted by storms which plagued Kansas City and the surrounding towns for much of Friday and Saturday. 

Erring on the side of caution, festival organizers opted to shut down the festival as lightning was detected in the area. The prospect of children being suspended hundreds of feet in the air on a metal ferris wheel in the middle of a lightning storm was hardly worth the risk. 

The ferris wheel at the Liberty Fall Fest

Despite being cut short, the event was well attended by community members. Over 1,000 people RSVPed as “going” on the Fall Festival’s Facebook event, and approximately 11,000 people indicated they were “interested” in the event. 

In attendance at this year’s festival were 175 Arts and Craft booths, 100 parade floats, an array of food trucks and several carnival rides, courtesy of Jones & Company Carnival.

While some of the vendors present were long-standing crowd favorites who have been in attendance for several years, others were new to the event. For example, there was a mobile WoodChux truck which provided metal shurikens – aka ninja stars – for participants to throw at wooden targets

A child throws shurikens in the WoodChux van at the Liberty Fall Fest

The event’s theme was “Bridging Liberty,” an ode to the newly opened MO Highway 152 bridge facilitating the flow of traffic to and from Liberty. 

Historically, the event can be traced back to 1934 and has ties to the Clay County 4-H and to Jewell’s Homecoming events. 

The event is now organized by the Liberty Area Chamber of Commerce and, according to Gayle Potter – the Liberty Area Chamber of Commerce president, it is better than ever before. 

“We are not getting bigger, but we are getting better,” Potter said

Children on a carnival ride at the Liberty Fall Fest

Though Liberty residents may be disappointed that the weather interrupted the festival events, there is always next year to look forward to. The next Liberty Fall Festival is scheduled for the fourth weekend of September 2020. 

Sofia Arthurs-Schoppe

Sofia is a senior chemistry and communication major at William Jewell College. Currently she serves as the Editor in Chief of the Hilltop Monitor.

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