Don’t know what kind of festival WS will have


Every year, The Jasper News listed the Wild Azalea Festival a Success.   Since the word “Success” is translated in different terms dependent upon the individual’s belief, I will leave it as was reported. But we know, money has not been raised as it has in the past when Tom and Maddie Moore handled the event.  It has become boring and the fact that it is held in a ballfield makes it even more difficult.  We love the events being down town.

Now it appears our special event committee has not met and the Wild Azalea festival is coming up in five weeks.  There was discussion that we have zero dollars and if the committee will not even advise the council of what is happening, perhaps only the Taste of White Springs will be available because it does make some revenue with the locals.  There will have to be a special meeting and Mr. Jones will have to figure out what these people have planned, if anything.  Vendors also prefer the downtown area near the Tourist Center and the Suwannee Hardware Store.  Of course there is no time to have a band play but why not a DJ?

Yet having worked for a variety of festivals, my idea of success seems to differ than what others may have felt. I feel there is only success if there is profitability.  If there is not a profit to be earned, then a festival is a failure.

 I remember attending the Festival when the Hardware Store also had its swap meet.  It seemed like the crowd at the Hardware Store attracted far more people than the actual Azalea Festival.  Yet White Springs  elected to charge the swap meet vendors $30.00 each; many of which could not afford it when they were lucky to make $30.00 at each table. This of course changed the course of the Swap meet and no longer do we have the artists and vendors of the past.

Furthermore, the actual vendor tents decreased exponentially because obviously those additional tents the year prior did not find worth in setting up a tent.   Now I realize the $30.00 is not a large amount for a larger city but we are White Springs, and if we cannot draw the people, no one is financially successful.   What is sad is that this seems to have happened since Paige Bullard took over the festival’s activities.

Every year there is a duck race for a Kayak….perhaps another item may be more of a draw, whether fishing rods, a grill or other products.   There was a silent auction, but the items were not such that the average person would feel would be worth bidding on.  Yes such things as quilts are great, but why not see if there could be artist prints, blown glass or decorative items up for bid?

There is nothing for children to do and I think that is sad.  And although some years there were musicians, there was no real street dance.  I remember when the street across from the Adams store was totally packed with people and there was dancing in the street.  The only people who danced were volunteers.

Things have to change if the Town wishes to have any profit whatsoever because if the crowd diminishes year after year because of the same old same old, the Wild Azalea Festival will die.  I know, even with my background with Festivals, there is no use to my offering to help, not even with food, because as Helen Miller stated, I would not receive three votes and that is find..  Yet I do have a voice under the First Amendment and I definitely intend to give my views:

These are additional suggestions which may draw more people and have some items also for young people who have not a thing to do when they accompany their parents except for the Little Miss Wild Azalea festival.  Of course these items would constitute more work on the part of the volunteers as well as more prizes but technically, prizes could be secured at discount throughout the year and if the Town is interested, I will provide the site on the internet.


  • A Talent Show consisting of vocalists and musicians or other talents such as dancing or rapping – Applications would have to be secured in advance with a prize amount stated. Each applicant could register possibly with a $5.00 fee so one would know how many would be interested and the length of time it would take for the program. This would bring in more people; however chairs would have to be set-up at the bandstand and alas White Springs does not have many chairs.

  • An actual Swap meet, possibly across from the Adams Store with a minimal charge and applications. Again 30 dollars cannot be the charge; possibly $5 – $10 maximum.

  • An Auction or raffling of baked goods prepared and donated by citizens of White Springs, allowing people to bid on the items. The person with the item that sells for the highest dollar amount would get a first place ribbon, second highest a second place ribbon, etc. for Azalea 2018 Baker of the year or a prize or trophy..

  • Live art, charactures, art sales. Artist can split the cost with the Town.  Charactures are a great way of making money at $10 per person and technically, I have done this and it becomes a fun thing for the entire family. Also face painting which children just love.

  • Besides a pageant, one could have a kiddie parade where the best dress would be judged and given a prize.

  • A football toss (Use five hula hoops, one in the middle and two on each side. Attach to a base consisting of PVC pipe in a rectangle at the bottom with PVC pipe on each side and the top.  Attach the hula hoops to the base with twist ties.  Each hoop will have a separate value and the one with the highest score gets a prize.   The football toss could coast 0.25 for three tosses.  Yet it would provide entertainment for the children.

  • A Ring Tossplacing bottles in a crate and using plastic rings such as plastic bracelet rings with small prizes when one wins.

  • Town Craft Vendors – at a lower cost of possibly $20.00

  • Bingo – Older people especially love playing bingo. And such would not have to be played only at the festival but perhaps one night a month at the Community Center.  This way more people would get to meet their neighbors.. Selling individual bingo game cards gives serious players additional chances to win and can be a great source for additional donation revenue

  • A General Raffle for cash or prize. The town would have to pick up dual tickets with corresponding numbers so one would go into a bowl and one the person would hold. Reach out to sponsors, supporters, corporations, local businesses and the community. Gift baskets make great packages for auctioning off and are perfect for groups of individuals to assemble and donate. You can also collect donations of themed items and assemble the baskets yourself. The nice thing is that any such sponsor’s name will be on the item raffled so there is further advertisement of our town businesses.

  • Hold small music concerts on a common green. Encourage karaoke

  • Horseshoe contest

  • Instead of Music after the Taste of White Springs, perhaps there could be an outdoor movie on the green, with sale of beverages and popcorn. Bring your own blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the family oriented movie. Snack type food are available for purchase or feel free to bring your own food and/or beverages! Children 12 or under will need to be with an adult

  • Bounce house

  • Street Party and Dance with concessions

  • Bachelor / Bachelorette Auction or Raffle Auctioning or raffling off eligible bachelors/bachelorettes for a great cause can be a fun and entertaining, and surely one of the hottest fundraising events your nonprofit will ever host (with or without the rose ceremony). Participants are asked to bid or buy tickets for the chance to win a fabulous date with the volunteer bachelor/bachelorette of their choice. Mobile-friendly date registration and activity interest survey Date package sponsors for fun activities and meals. A good way to get your for-profit partners involved in this type of fundraising event is to ask local restaurants and businesses to donate or sponsor date packages. Their involvement will help raise awareness and add to the quality experience of the winners’ dates. If you’ve decided on an auction, a live event thermometer can help you capture and display the winning bids (pledges) for each bachelor and bachelorette. Just watch the excitement build as it shows each bid getting you closer to reaching your fundraising event goal. Another way to run this event is to assign a keyword to each bachelor/bachelorette for easy capturing of text-to-donate raffle entries.

  • Battle of the BandsIf you’re looking to raise awareness and funds for your cause with a diverse audience, a battle of the bands fundraising event idea is one that will not disappoint. You’ll have the opportunity to raise money from band entry registration fees, ticket sales and crowd funding donations raised by the acts and their fans as a way to cast votes in their favor. Reach out to restaurants and businesses (esp. music related ones) in the community for prizes for contestant performers and crowd raffles. Throw some love their way in return by including them in social posts, on your digital forms and mobile-friendly Thank Yous.








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