Allied Arts Council Suspends Trails West!® After 26 Years
After 26 wonderful years, the Allied Arts Council has decided to suspend the Trails West!® festival. Multiple factors were considered in making this decision, such as the change in how people consume their art, the number of outdoor arts experiences now available, and the rising costs of performers and infrastructure fees.
We would like to thank the community for their support of the festival. It has been 26 years since the first TW! festival in 1993, an event to celebrate the sesquicentennial of St Joseph. A festival filled with fine art, crafts, drama, music, reenactments, demonstrations, food and games. Memories of many, bonded together by the experiences shared at the festival.
Over the years additional artistic options have blessed this City, such as the Sounds of Summer, the Jazz Festival, Parties on the Parkway and Imagine Eleven. The Sculpture Walk and Traffic Box Project continue to be an integral part in making Downtown come alive. These programs, among others, have given greater cultural experiences to the citizens of St Joseph.
The Allied Arts Council staff, board of directors and Trails West!® steering committee are proud of the long-term success of the festival. The three-day festival, held annually since 1993 at Civic Center Park, was the largest arts festival in northwest Missouri, with more than 45,000 attendees at its peak and with an annual economic impact of over $1 million a year.
Founding chair Karen Graves had a vision to create a festival to celebrate the arts and St. Joseph’s unique cultural heritage. For 26 years, Trails West!® has continued that mission. Festivals have a lifespan, and although the Council is sad for the festival to close, the city can look back, celebrate and cherish the memories the festival created.
The Council has appointed a committee of AAC members, TW! steering committee members and community leaders to study issues and look at other opportunities where arts needs aren’t being met in St. Joseph.
The Council looks forward to future partnerships and opportunities to continue to bring arts and people together.