GILBERT — The town of Gilbert and the Larry Joe Harless Community Center met on Friday, August 21 to discuss the upcoming plans for Trailfest 2015.
While Trailfest is usually hosted by the Hatfield and McCoy trails, this year Trailfest will be hosted by the town and the LJHCC. Hatfield and McCoy trails recently experienced some changes in rules and regulations at the state level which included that events were outside their scope of operations. Hatfield and McCoy trails offered the event to the town of Gilbert and it was accepted as a partnership between the town and the community center. Mike Pinkerton, who is an employee for the Hatfield and McCoy trails was in attendance of the meeting as a way to help the town transition into ownership of the event.
While most are familiar with the fun that Trailfest brings, many don’t understand the amount of hard work and preparation that it takes to make it happen.
Pinkerton assured the town that while it may be overwhelming at first, the town was making strides to see it completed and he had no worries about the end result.
“Yes, Trailfest is a big event but it is about making sure you have a million little things done,” said Pinkerton.
First topic in the meeting was to decide on a logo for Trailfest 2015 that would used for all merchandise and advertising. Eric Burgess from Domino Printing passed around four examples that he had created and the majority voted for the one that they liked the best. It was also decided that they would compare Burgess’ design to a design created by Jason Duffield who has created past logos for the event and then decide on a final design.
A discussion was held about wanting to place sponsor names on the back of the t shirts and if it was too late to acquire sponsors.
“The best idea is to use your vendors as potential sponsors,” said Pinkerton.
Mayor Vivian Livingood said that while registration started slow this year, it had began to come in heavy.
“We want to ask any locals who may have trailers, apartments or any place to rent to let us rent that for you during Trailfest,” said Livingood.
Cheryl Mitchem, events coordinator with the LJHCC gave an update on the camping availability at the center.
“We are currently 49 percent filled. We have 12 power camping spots available and there are more primitive spots available as well,” said Mitchem.
Pinkerton expressed some concern that usually during this time camping is 75% filled with no power spots available but insisted that it was due to slow registration and people not registering until the last minute.
Mayor Livingood told those in attendance that the goal for this year is to mimic previous years as closely as possible before trying to make any changes to the event.
“This is new for us and we don’t want to do anything that would not work well with the people who are used to it being done a certain way. The majority of Trailfest customers are repeat customers which means they are already happy with the way it all works. Some of the only changes I know about are to the scavenger hunt,” said Livingood. “Jennifer Miller has some wonderful ideas to make it more exciting and in depth. Our goal here is to end Trailfest with a little bit of money to start up next years events. This year is not about making a profit but just keeping it alive.”
Aside from T-shirts and scavenger hunts, there are big jobs that must be done in order to prepare for the event and the biggest includes mowing and keep the camping field clean so that it can be marked.
“Getting that field cut now is critical,” said Pinkerton as he suggested the town rent a piece of equipment to mow it. Pinkerton also suggested that the town look into hiring four to six people to work the three weeks surrounding the event to weed-eat, drive stakes, mark the field and do other tasks needed to make the event happen.
“The biggest thing about Trailfest is that the area is so small and confined that it makes fences, signs and banners necessary in order to keep it from looking chaotic and more like an actual event,” said Pinkerton.
The rules of the camp were discussed and it was decided that midnight would be the cut off time for generators, ATV’s on the road and would begin “quiet time”.
Pinkerton advised Mitchem and Livingood to watch placement of campers and to not put a group who is rowdy next to a group with children.
Pinkerton estimated that the town would need to purchase at a minimum 20 cans of paint to mark the camping field and 75 bales of straw to use on the drag strip and demo area.
It was decided that registration will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 10 p.m. and the events will include the stuntman, mud pit, drag strip, casino night, poker run, parade, music and more.
Several Vendors are already lined up including Suzuki, Polaris and Swamp Donkey.
“Hatfield and McCoy Trails is going to support the town and the community center in every way to see Trailfest a success,” said Pinkerton.
Livingood says she hopes that the town will support the event this year just as much as they have in previous years.
“This year is a perfect chance for more of our local people and our local churches to come out, set up for concession or crafts and get involved,” said Livingood. “I give everything I do 110 percent and yes this is a lot to handle but I know that we can do it. Trailfest is so good for our community and I will make sure that we keep it alive and successful.”
Madalin Sammons is a reporter for the Gilbert Times. Madalin can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 304-664-8225.