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Danville’s Festival in the Park – LIVE!

It’s time for Danville’s annual Festival In The Park & SouthsideCentral is covering it LIVE! We’ll have observations and comments as we make our way around Danville’s Ballou Park and the surrounding area. The coverage should start around 2:30 PM and continue for a while, so refresh this article for the latest happenings. Let’s start our LIVE! coverage…

3:00 PM : Finally got across the Robertson Bridge. Ridiculous. Now to the Festival.

3:17 PM : Very good crowd. Heading through the food section first. Good selection, typical high festival prices.

4:00 PM : Excellent zydeco band playing to a good & receptive crowd. And beer…

4:10 PM : Lots of vendors (100+?) on the road. People seem to be buying things. Kids’ section is well set up and very active. The cruise-in is in the corner of the park and is building. This festival could use lots of directional signs to tell people where things are.

4:25 PM : Festival seems to have survived many evolutions, starting from a heavy school & community organization event to its current recipe of generic festival. There’s nothing super special about it but it’s a Danville tradition.

Final Thoughts : It’s a fun festival to attend. The May weekend date means it probably won’t be very hot & humid and that held true this time. It’s really the “Festival in Half of the Park” and that’s where this event could be a lot better. Local businesses aren’t represented there (unless they’re sponsors) and that’s a big opportunity to add to the event. The emerging local arts scene should also be a part. Both of these additions would add local spice into a just-another-generic festival. The sadly defunct “Art On Main” showed me that we have local talent that doesn’t get much exposure. Festival organizers could learn from Melissa Charles about that.

One concern that has kept some people away in the past is safety. There have been incidents in the past which have fishtaled in stories of horrible riots. That’s horsecrap. I saw a visible yet unnoticeable police presence which seemed to grow as the hours got later. This festival is family-safe & family-friendly.

As said before, they need lots of directional signs to guide people where things are. Three information tables don’t cut it.

The Robertson Bridge construction area is a traffic disaster and it’s not going to get any better until the construction is finished. Until then, I’ll avoid that area of the city… and I’m sure that others feel the same way.

At least there’s plenty of parking because Ballou Park Shopping Center is Dead. If it wasn’t for that, parking would be a serious issue. The pedestrian flow across West Main St. to the front of the park is an accident waiting to happen. They need an officer there to stop and direct traffic.

That’s all I can think of now. I may have more later.

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