11/08/10 Indiana State Festivals Association’s board member Bill Walters along with Marshall County’s Blueberry Festival Director Connie Holzwart attended the Indiana State Festivals Association and Indiana Main Street’s state convention at the Wyndyam Hotel in Indianapolis, the weekend of November 5, 2010. Also attending the convention and representing Plymouth’s Main Street include Andrea Cook and Gina Young.

During Friday, the first day of the convention, sessions included case studies and presentations on what other Indiana Main Street communities have worked on throughout the state. Friday evening concluded with key note speaker Lt. Governor Becky Skillman shared a warm welcome to the audience members and spoke about festivals and downtown activities and their importance to a community saying that they “breathe life into our towns.”

Skillman spoke on the genesis of Indiana’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) and commented the state’s approach and need for a “creative, innovative look for new ways to move communities forward.” She has seen OCRA give towns new hope and new confidence that help growth. She admits that the state-and local governments can’t help, but relies on success from community members “all working together as partners.”

She then unveiled the new cover for the 2011 Indiana State Festival Guide. Connie Holzwart shares that the Festival Guide is the most popular of all the resources available at the Marshall County CVB, “it is the number one requested resource.”

During Saturday’s sessions, local Marianne Peters presented to convention participants, “The New 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuses, Recycle.” Peters gave a first-hand account on the successful Blueberry Festival’s recycle campaign. She urged festival leaders throughout the state how they can become more eco-friendly.

The weekend was full of resources that will turn the lights on, get the wheels moving forward and ignite that life and community into the down towns areas and festivals throughout the state!