Eighth Foster Fest seasons starts with new changes
Eight years ago foster fest started as a car show that drew in about 600 attendants, but now the event averages 6 to 7 thousand people.
“Over the years we've added live music, we added transited vendors, we've added a kids zone. We've really made it to an event that has something for everybody,” says Downtown Dothan Redevelopment Authority director of merchants and marketing Jessica Parker.
Making it a family-friendly event is one of many changes that have been made over the years.
When the festival first started most downtown businesses were closed during festival hours, but now many stay open late to catch the additional traffic.
“I think Foster Fest has really helped to bring people into downtown and then bring people back on a day that's not Foster Fest because they want to shop here. They want to eat here,” says Parker.
That’s one of the missions of the festival to keep local dollars here.
“We want people to want to stay in town on the weekends. You don't have to go to Panama City or go to Columbus or go anywhere to really have a good time on the weekend. You can do it right here in downtown Dothan,” says Parker.
Downtown businesses and vendors aren't the only ones that benefit from the traffic.
“I've just met a lot of people. They automatically go and follow me and sometimes I even make friends and kind of just evolved as an artist,” says Foster Fest singer Annie Welch.
New layout plans will make it easier to enjoy artists and musicians.
The 100 block of North Foster will only have arts and crafts vendor booths.
Crawford Street is going to be completely closed because the south foster stage is actually going to be moving back to the intersection. It's actually going to give people that come down to south foster street a little more elbow room but it's also going to look great. It's going to sound great,” says Parker.