By Martin Couch
Back in 1983, talks began by the Bryant Chamber of Commerce to start a showcase for local businesses. Five years later, in 1988, the original Bryant's Busting Out was formed as a fall festival, craft show and flea market that did just that.
Today, 23 years later, the small festival held at Mills Park has grown into Bryant's annual Fall Fest.[more]
"They were talking about it before in 1983 and it took them five years to get it going," said Bryant Chamber of Commerce executive director Rae Ann Fields. "Back then, it went from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and now we go from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but it's always been about Bryant merchants. They had craft shows and flea markets, but the reason they did it was to showcase the businesses in town. It's always been about the showcase of business."
Now live band concerts, games for kids, arts and crafts, a parade, business booths, a food court, a kid's land, a pet race, a car show and a cup stacking contest are among the many events featured at Fall Fest, which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 25 at Mills Park.
"Over the years, we've had school groups who show their support, political candidates are involved and, for fun, we added contests, music on stage, and things for the kids," Fields said. "We've been doing it for a long time and it's a big draw. It's nice for the community, but it really started by showcasing the businesses in the beginning."
Fall Fest has always been held at Mills Park. One season in the early years the festival was scheduled in October, but was snowed out. Since, though, it has been scheduled for the last weekend in September.
For more information about setting up a vendor booth at this year's Fall Fest, contact the Bryant Chamber of Commerce at 501-847-4702.