It may seem strange to think about an autumn event when the temperature dips to zero and below, but planning starts early for the annual Clay County Popcorn Festival.
The first meeting for the 2005 festival will be tonight at 6 p.m. in the Brazil City Hall Council chambers.
Plans are already under way, though nothing has really been determined, said Glen Brown, one of the event's coordinators, on Monday.
Festival attendees won't have to be night owls -- an effort will be made to have all the entertainment end around 8 p.m. Last year, a concert was scheduled later and did not draw as much audience as anticipated.
"People were tired and cold and they wanted to go home," Brown said. "We're not going to have late nights. We want to start the entertainment by 6:30 and end by 8 or so."
Different recording ar-tists and two laser light shows are expected.
"The laser light shows were so popular last year," Brown said. "We are trying to find a way to move them into the band shell this year."
Also expected to return is Oktoberfest, held at the American Legion last year.
"They dressed in costumes and wore lederhosen," Brown said. "It was absolutely successful last year."
Brown hopes all groups planning events during the Popcorn Festival will attend the planning meetings, beginning with the one tonight.
New this year will be event contracts to be signed with all groups sponsoring events. The contracts will specify that the groups will abide by the festival rules, attend planning meetings and accept other spelled out responsibilities, Brown said.
Vendors are already lining up for the 2005 festival. Vendors will be charged a little more to cover rising electricity costs.
Last year, the festival increased wiring and the number of available outlets in Forest Park. Brown anticipates that expansion will continue in 2005, with the city Park Board's blessing.
The 2005 Popcorn Festival, honoring one of Clay County's favorite sons, Orville Redenbacher, is scheduled the weekend of Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Forest Park.