These are uncertain times, and the entire Middleton community is faced with new challenges. While many activities have been cancelled through the spring and early summer, the Good Neighbor Festival Board of Trustees continues to plan for the 57th Annual Good Neighbor Festival on August 28-30, and they remain cautiously optimistic that the event can take place.
Although organizers are seeking to preserve this cherished community tradition, there will be changes to adjust to the COVID-19 situation as necessary. One significant change that was already in the works is that the Festival will adopt an “open campus“ concept in 2020, allowing alcoholic beverages to be consumed on most of the Festival grounds instead of being limited to two separate beer tents. William “Sonny” Simon VFW Post 8216 and Middleton Youth Hockey will operate individual beer stands as in the past, with the VFW focusing on domestic beer and Hockey featuring craft beer options.
In addition to avoiding crowding, this approach also allows patrons to enjoy the many food and drink offerings and activities of the Festival while choosing either to be close to live music or farther away to allow for more conversation with their families and friends. A wristband system will be used to prevent underage consumption of alcohol.
Free live entertainment will also be a part of the Festival, but will be presented on a single stage located in between the beer stands. The lineup is still being finalized, but the Festival expects many favorites to perform, including The Jimmy’s, Lube, Red Hot Horn Dawgs, Mascot Theory and Pacific Coast Highway.
This year’s Festival will also feature a return to a more “homegrown” feel for entertainment. The Festival is asking the community to bring its creativity to exciting parade floats, particularly those that incorporate a pun (this year’s theme, 2020 Vision: A Middleton Spectacle, is an example). A local talent stage will feature acts that wish to perform without pay, but for much appreciation. This stage will also include good-natured competitions, like a Pun Slam contest. Good neighbors interested in participating in these events should contact the Board of Trustees at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Traditional Festival activities are also currently scheduled to return, including the Good Neighbor 5K Run/Walk, Good Neighbor Parade, Kiddie Parade, the Art and Craft Fair and the Carnival. There will also be other free entertainment and delicious food throughout the Festival, including a return to individual food concessions by Festival trustee organizations.
Although the Middleton High School expansion project has gotten under way, the construction does not directly affect the festival grounds. There will remain a paved, unobstructed walkway between the main high school parking lot and Firemen’s Park. Festival organizers are exploring ways to make sure the impacts are minimized, including the possibility of alternative parking sites with a shuttle system.
Registration for the parade, 5K and the Art and Craft Fair is now open at www.goodneighborfestival.com. Fees are fully refundable if the Festival must be cancelled, but at this point the Festival trustees are hopeful that they will be able to present the Festival in some fashion. They view the Festival as a perfect opportunity to come together and celebrate the Middleton community’s perseverance!