Local festivals are among the best ways smaller cities — especially rural ones — can market themselves. They are opportunities to promote the many advantages life in a smaller community can offer in general, as well as the specific attractions that every city has to offer. The celebration that will be held in Bangs on Saturday has developed into just such an event.

Of course, that mission is a much grander one than what Bangs Mayfest started out to be in 1995. A history of the event published in a story in Wednesday’s Bulletin detailed that background, and told how a weekend that began as one merchant’s idea for a big sale quickly grew into a Saturday in spring with vendors, activities for all ages, a parade and a campaign that has helped raise thousands of dollars for community improvements.

The Bangs Business Association has this year assumed the significant job of producing Mayfest, and the growth and success of that association is a mirror of the continuing expansion of Mayfest’s popularity. But as families gather at Bangs City Park on Saturday for a day of fun, the community is also benefiting from the exposure this festival produces the city on a regional basis.

Mayfest not only offers local residents an activity to enjoy; it also is a reason for residents from throughout the area to visit the community. These events happen on a differing scales, but the result is the same. Whether it’s the Brownwood Reunion Celebration, or the De Leon Peach and Melon Festival or the Early Pecan Festival, these signature events give communities a reason to promote themselves, and give neighbors living in other cities yet another reason to visit.

Everyone attending shouldn’t bother themselves with the tourism aspect of such events. Events planners and city leaders have already addressed that. Now that the hardest work is almost done, the celebration is ready to begin. It’s a time to enjoy it.

Brownwood Bulletin