Arlen, who was very thorough, went at the job of chairing the first Fall Festival like a time-study man and efficiency expert.
We not only applied some of the ideas we had picked up at Manchester, he introduced some thoughts of his own.
He "automated" our serving line and improved our cooking
techniques at the charcoal pits. He checked and double-checked things that had to be done so many times that I
thought the committee chairmen would revolt. They didn't, and the first Fall Festival in Plymouth was a huge
Much of the credit was due to Frank Arlen, to the
commit tee heads, and to the individual members of the club who worked twice as hard as they ever did in their vocations. Part of the success was also attributable to the comprehensive
publicity campaign we put together. We wrote to other Rotary clubs inviting them to attend. We made radio and TV
contacts, encouraged local merchants to refer to the event in their ads, had window posters placed in stores, issued newspaper releases, made house-to-house distribution of circulars, and
posted directional signs at appropriate locations.
auxiliary, the Rotary Anns, helped by making telephone calls reminding people of the big day.
I got Kenny Williams, paint foreman at Evans Products
Company, to hand-letter a 6-foot banner which we strung across Main Street at Mill. Kenny also silk-screened some hardboard signs which Dan Olson and I posted at entrances to the city. The Plymouth Mail gave us excellent advance
publicity. We announced that door prizes, scrounged from local industrialists, would be awarded on the afternoon of the event at a drawing open to all who bought barbecue tickets.
The first Fall Festival took place in Plymouth on Sunday, September
11, 1960, from 12:30 pm. to
6 pm. The good weather, ordered by Rotary's chaplain, the Reverend Henry
Walch, came as scheduled, and the festival got under way.
The City had agreed to close Penniman Avenue, between
Main and Union. The concrete block barbecue pits were set up in the parking lot, owned by Chuck
Finlan, adjacent to the Penn Theatre. Picnic tables and chairs were set up in Kellogg Park which was colorfully decorated by members of the
Rotary Club. In my mind's eye, I can still see the late Horace Thatcher, then over 70, up on a ladder tacking streamers from tree to tree.
The eighty members of the Rotary Club had sold tickets, at $1.50 for adults and $1.00 for children, buttonholing their
relatives, friends, customers and anyone else with whom they
came in contact.