Tribune-Courier General Manager
AURORA – Organizers of a 38-year autumn tradition in Aurora say they are changing directions with the planning for this year’s event and doing away with the traditional fall festival activities that have been part of The Aurora Country Festival since the 1970s.
The event is being replaced by Flea for All and will be scaled back to a vendor market at the Aurora Community Park next to St. Henry’s Catholic Church along U.S. Hwy. 68 on Oct. 3 and 4.
Originally a late October event, the festival dates were moved to early in October in 2004.
In its heyday the three-day event attracted in excess of 25,000 people to the tiny community for sorghum, soap and broom making demonstrations, carnival and pony rides, a parade, live music, crafts, food concessions and a talent contest.
In recent years attendance at the festival had declined, due in part to the growing number of late September and October events across the region, according to organizers.
“There is so much going on at that time of year,” said Bonnie Kincannon, Aurora-Ross Fire Department Auxiliary member. “There’s a festival on every corner. When we lost our demonstrations like sorghum and broom making it really hurt us.”
Kincannon said with no one willing to take on the duties of planning a parade this year, along with a loss of event space along Hwy. 68 just down from the Hitching Post, the Auxiliary decided to focus on the flea market, one of the more successful aspects of the Country Festival in recent years.
“It’s a lot of work to organize a parade and lately it had really become a lot of fire trucks,” said Kincannon.
“We are trying to get the word out to vendors that we will be in the Community Park the first weekend in October. We are really hoping people will continue to come out,” said Kincannon.
Su Feston, owner of The Hitching Post, said she is excited about the change in direction. “The festival had really turned into a flea market anyway,” Feston said. “I’m happy something is still going to be going on its place.”
A traditional purchase by visitors to the Country Festival was homemade sorghum. Feston said she will be selling the sorghum in her store during the Flea for All weekend.
“It is sad to see the festival not take place,” said Randy Newcomb, director of the Kentucky Lakes Tourism Commission. “It brought thousands of visitors into the Aurora area and was a boost to the economy,
“But it seems that the community has come up with a great event to take its place and hopefully it will provide an equal if not greater economic impact for the area.”
Anyone interested in selling items at the Flea for All should contact Kincannon at 270-354-8467.