ALF organizers have options in case Main Street is unavailable

Although Tracy Becker, executive director of the Clarion Area Chamber of Business and Industry, said “all systems are go” for the 2021 Autumn Leaf Festival, she isn’t taking chances.

“Anything can happen,” said Becker, who proposed a “plan B” schedule that Clarion Borough Council approved earlier this month. The alternative schedule would be implemented if something were to happen that makes closing Main Street for ALF events untenable.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation just gave its approval for a slate of Main Street closings between Oct. 2 and 10 for various events, including major activities like the car show, the kiddies parade, Farmers and Crafters Day, and the main parade.

Each day’s street closing request was considered as a separate event. The approvals came through from PennDOT on Aug. 30.

“Anything is possible; anything can change,” Becker told the council.

Several years ago, a major crash along Interstate 80 just before the kiddies parade was scheduled to start along Main Street forced heavy truck traffic through the borough.

ALF organizers and the borough police department quickly adapted and moved the kiddies parade to Liberty Street.

Becker told the Clarion News while alternative plans have always been at least in the back of event organizers’ minds, this is the first time a “plan B” for all the major Main Street events has been committed to paper and presented to the council for its approval.

If Main Street is not available:

• The car and motorcycle show would move to the Clarion Mall parking lot in Monroe Township.

• The kiddies parade would move to Liberty Street.

• Farmers and Crafters Day vendors would move off the street and onto the sidewalks where possible, and also along Third, Fourth, and Seventh avenues.

• The main parade would begin near Wendy’s restaurant and move through the Clarion University campus along Grand Avenue down to Heidrick Street.

There is no indication at this time that there will be a need to move the events.

In addition, the council approved the addition of two ALF events: a corn hole tournament will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 2 in front of the courthouse, and a reception for sponsors will be held in a temporary enclosure the evening of Sept. 29 along Seventh Avenue between Main Street and Merle Drive.

Food donations

Clarion Mayor Brett Whitling read a proclamation during the council’s meeting declaring September “FoodStock” month in the borough.

FoodStock is an annual effort during Autumn Leaf Festival season to collect nonperishable food donations to be distributed to area food banks.

Drop-off locations can be found throughout the county or can be delivered to the chamber office along Main Street in Clarion.