My hat is off to the magnificent staff of the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce as they’ve been preparing for the “Cheers to Ten Years” celebration of the tenth anniversary of the annual Food, Wine and Brew Fest set for Saturday at Community Park.
If you’ve had a chance to talk with the planners and crew, you’ve learned that it takes a year and a half to plan each event. In other words, they’re already working on the 2019 fest before Saturday’s is over.
They take a few days off and squeeze in the annual banquet; then the work for number 11 will kick into high gear.
The chamber staff is small in number but efficient, aggressive and creative. They are massive in recruiting help from more that 100 volunteers, chamber ambassadors, major sponsors, a supportive board of directors and people from all over this part of Texas who love to attend and participate as vendors.
According to Jennifer McCann, co-chair of the festival, it explains why there were 600 participants at the first festival a decade ago, with growth to an all-time record of 7,000 expected this weekend.
About 30 people work together each year as a planning team, and it is the reason that no two festivals are ever alike.
In order that each festival improves from year to year, the chamber staff seriously considers the results of surveys distributed to ticket holders, vendors, volunteers, staff and other leaders.
Gina Pence, president and CEO of the chamber, told me that they read all of them and, due to the surveys, changes for the better have always been made. She knows that listening to sincere suggestions from people who make their way through the gate will always bring improvements and new ideas to the next festival.
So, how about the weather? For an area of Central Texas that has broiled under high temperatures of more that 100 degrees and little relief of rain for unending weeks, we’ve come to a stalemate. We’ve begged and pleaded for rain and our prayers have been answered over the last several days. As I write this column on Thursday morning, the skies are mostly sunny but high chances of rain are looming for Saturday.
Prayers can often be selfish and this is one of those times that we might be asking God or your own personal higher power for a Saturday respite so the festival can go on as planned, as it was meant to be without a flooding rain.
The question begs for an answer and one that we hoped didn’t have to be answered.
Gina officially announced Thursday morning that rain or shine, the festival will be move full speed ahead on Saturday.
If there are any major changes or cancellations, that information will be trumpeted over social media.
In the business of weather forecasting, what a lot of people don’t understand is that when the National Weather Service in Fort Worth predicts a 70 percent chance of rain it means that 70 percent of the area served by the Fort Worth forecast office would receive rain.
This also means that 30 percent of the land in the service area might not get rain.
For the sake of the festival, I’m placing my bets for sunshine over the 30 percent areat hat covers Community Park on FM 2410.
How about you? It won’t be the first time it’s happened this summer.
Bob Massey is a Herald correspondent.