Editor’s note: This article has been updated with a comment from Van Alstyne Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tiffany Chartier.
Downtown Van Alstyne was abuzz with life, laughter and legions of people last Saturday for the town’s yearly Fall der All festival, produced by the Van Alstyne Chamber of Commerce.
There were a lot of old favorites, such as the Scarecrow Parade and the abundance of scarecrows all around the town, as well as the many vendors that lined Marshall, Main and Jefferson streets; and the car show, which also on Jefferson. And there were many new and exciting activities too, such as the professional stage set up on the corner of Main and Marshall and the new rides in the Kidz Zone.
“The 2019 Fall der all Festival was our biggest festival, to-date — the scarecrow parade, car show by Duncan’s Auctions, variety of vendors, food, and live music, along with the children’s rides and games, gave the community a fun-filled day,” Chamber Executive Director Tiffany Chartier said in a statement emailed to the Van Alstyne Leader. “We are thankful to all the contributors, volunteers, and everyone who came out to enjoy Fall der All. City Manager Lane Jones, Mayor Steve Riley, and the Van Alstyne Public Works, Police, and Fire departments aided in showcasing the finest of Van Alstyne — a clean, safe, and beautiful place to work, live, and play. A special thanks to our Fall der All Committee Chair and Chamber Board Member Shannon Morgan, who put in countless hours to bring this festival to fruition. This truly was a beautiful day from start to finish.”
The Scarecrow Parade kicked off at 9 a.m., moving from north to south on Waco Street. Leading it were fire and police vehicles, followed by city officials’ vehicles, and then floats and walking groups. The last entry was a camel, wearing scarecrow attired, led by a scarecrow couple. The first-place prize of $100 went to Keep Van Alstyne Beautiful; second-place and $75 went to the Van Alstyne Sports Authority Cheerleaders; and Grayson Farms Homes took third place and the accompanying $50 prize.
Parade favorites also included the Aztec dancers; a John Deere XVU550 decorated up in true scarecrow and harvest fashion and driven by a young man also in scarecrow attire; and the many youngsters who not only walked, but danced and rode scooters down the route.
The festival’s vendors are also always popular, and everything brought to the booths included organizations seeking more exposure, such as the Alzheimer’s Group booth, churches and other non-profit organizations, food trucks with long lines of hungry folks, one builder who put a roof on a building he brought, one shingle at a time; and just about any sort of clothing or accessories one might want to purchase; and even more.
As it was Jafar’s Mediterranean Café’s two-year anniversary in business downtown, it and the other three downtown restaurants — Romano’s, The Roost and Bucksnort Café — all stayed open to good business.
The car show was an even bigger hit than previous years. The list of winners has not yet been provided, but to a novice’s eyes, any one of them could have taken a prize.
The Senior Center had been conducting a raffle, selling tickets at Tuesday night’s Railcar Farmers Market and other places for the past few months. They had their drawing for about 15 prizes at 2 p.m. Saturday. The top two prizes were two pair of tickets to Dallas Cowboys football games. It was County Judge Rita Noel who won one set and Lauren Turner of Van Alstyne won the second set. Other raffle items included many donations from area businesses.
The Kidz Zone was moved from its usual spot on North Main to South Preston, to allow for parking in the former spot. And with more businesses now open on South Preston, the change allowed for the public to take a look at those as well.
This year, the Chamber brought in smaller versions of popular carnival rides, such as a ferris wheel with its vertical ride and two others with horizontal rides. The Fall der All committee set up a large stage at the corner of South Main and East Marshall streets to accommodate the big band that played last, Limelight, a party band from the Dallas area. Van Alstyne’s own Austin Michael Robinson opened the stage up solo, followed by Chuck Ligon’s full band and then Limelight. Meanwhile, over on the gazebo in Dorothy Fielder Park, the Bent Creek band, of Grayson County, played followed by McKinney’s E-Flat Porch Band.
At one point during Limelight’s set, the downtown dance group of Fierce Motions in Dance created what could be dubbed a “flash mob” and used the pavement in front of the big stage to stay with Limelight in a line dance.
It all closed down at 4 p.m., and the time change from the previous 10 a.m.-5 p.m. to this year’s 9 a.m.-4 p.m. schedule seemed to work well for vendors and festival-goers.