Organizers report more than 6,500 visitors for second annual herring festival 4-16-15

Organizers report more than 6,500 visitors for second annual
SouthCoast Today
By Matthew Ferreira/Staff Writer

Posted Apr. 16, 2015 at 2:01 AM

MIDDLEBORO — Organizers were taught last year after the first Annual Herring Run Festival to expect an unexpectedly big turnout for the event. That ended up being a valuable lesson, as this year's 2nd Annual Herring Run Festival brought in a total of 6,595 visitors to Oliver Mill Park — more than twice last year's turnout.
"The bulk of the visitors came from a 50-mile radius, however, volunteers spoke with people from New Jersey, Maine, Connecticut," organizer and selectman Leilani Dalpe said. "Feedback from those in attendance was great. They loved the variety of activities, the fish of course and merchandise."
Though the second time around for the young event brought in considerably more visitors and expanded on last year's programming, Dalpe said running the event continues to be a learning process, noting that the event could have used more food vendors and parking remained an issue.
"Parking, although better than last year, is still an issue we have to come up with a better solution for. We more than doubled our capacity with two large buses and one Gatra for a total of 160 passengers per trip. We were anticipating 3,000 visitors like last year. Fortunately, we had more than double that in visitors and we immediately added another large bus and two Gatras. The police also tweaked the route to actually make the shuttle trip quicker."
Middleboro Tourism Committee member Arthur Battistini got a double-perspective at the festival this year, serving both as an organizer and a vendor selling baked goods, as featured at his current Battistini's Bakery location at 23 S. Main St.
"It was a great event, great turnout. And I think for a lot of the vendors, it was good because they got introduced to the town. As we're trying to build up the downtown and get businesses to come in, that's a good thing, because they might not have otherwise ever come to see what Middleboro is like, and it makes a great opportunity to try and convince some of the vendors to maybe locate here."
As for his own bakery booth, Battistini says he made approximately 500 transactions over the weekend.
In terms of the true stars of the festival — the herring — Middleborough-Lakeville Herring Fishery Commission chair David Cavanaugh reported that, as he predicted the week prior, the flow of herring had increased closer to a peak just in time for the big weekend.
"I'm told Sunday counts were in the 800s and one was 1,000," he said.

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