It wasn’t the crowd they had hoped for, but organizers consider the Prelude to the Symphony this weekend at Florence a success.
Nearly 7,500 people attended the Symphony in the Flint Hills Saturday evening on a farm northeast of Florence.
The intent was for concertgoers to travel to Florence Friday and Saturday for musical entertainment and to purchase craft and food items from vendors.
Some vendors came from as far away as Oklahoma; others were from Marion County.
Neighboring communities of Strong City, Cottonwood Falls, and El Dorado competed for the attentions of concertgoers by offering similar events and shopping, which may have contributed to the smaller-than-expected crowd.
In Florence, an array of vendors offered photographs, paintings, crafts, and jewelry. Food vendors filled downtown with an aroma of barbecue and fried foods. Cowtown Gunfighters reenacted a shootout.
Four members of Fort Riley Calvary showed guests maneuvers with their trusted steeds. A mountain man encampment was in town including a tepee.
Roving minstrels and musical groups also entertained.
“This has been months in the making,” volunteer Scott Zogelman said. “We weren’t sure what to expect.”
But the results satisfied most volunteers.
“This all came together really well,” Trayce Warner said.
Teresa Huffman, Marion County economic development director, estimated at least 1,000 attended.
“We all had a great time, and the volunteers really stepped up to the plate and did a great job,” Huffman said.
She said visitors enjoyed the Harvey House and mountain man encampment.
“I was pleased with the diversity and quality of the arts and crafts vendors,” Huffman said.
There has been no word yet whether there will be a future opportunity to showcase Marion County before a symphony concert.
“We had a great time, and I think we will see benefits way into the future of this event,” Huffman said.