By most measures, the director of the Leavenworth Main Street Program said this weekend’s Buffalo Bill Days Festival was a success.

By most measures, the director of the Leavenworth Main Street Program said this weekend’s Buffalo Bill Days Festival was a success.

Leavenworth Main Street Program Executive Director Wendy Scheidt estimated Monday that roughly 8,000 people likely made their way through the festival grounds Friday and Saturday, which stretched from about Broadway to the west side of Fourth Street on Cherokee. She said the grounds were actually expanded this year to accommodate more vendors.

Rain late Friday afternoon did little to dampen attendance that evening and the sunny Saturday weather, with highs in the 70s, drew a lot of people out from areas beyond the city of Leavenworth, according to Scheidt. She credited both the weather and marketing events with drawing roughly twice the number of estimated visitors from last year.

“You couldn’t have asked for a better event,” she said.

Between continuous performances from dance and musical groups under the Haymarket Square Pavilion, a number of games and activities, a car show from the Leavenworth Cruisers and food and craft vendors, Scheidt said she felt the event went off without a hitch.

“I think we offered a heck of a lot,” she said

For the 2012 edition of the festival, the second since the idea was revived after a 20-year absence, the organizers decided to go bigger and draw in more of the events from earlier incarnations of the Buffalo Bill Days festivities. That means the return of the beard and mustache contest and its multiple categories and the “jail” from years past in which visitors to the event could find themselves imprisoned.

Some of the events from last year continued for 2012, like the outhouse races, which boasted more teams and a companion Outhouse and Such art show. Members of the Brown Bear Printing outhouse racing team said that while they were able to take top honors again in the race this year, the competition was greater in number and stiffer.
Scheidt estimated the crowd for that event also grew significantly, estimating as many as 500 people trying to watch the races.

This year was also a first for the Leavenworth Hog Wild West Barbecue contest and tasting, which was both a sanctioned Kansas City Barbecue Society event and a state barbecue competition.

Scheidt thanked those who volunteered throughout the festival. She said the planning committee for the festival will meet at the end of the month for an “after-action report” to go over the particulars of the festival. As for next year, Scheidt said plans won’t be set for some time but that Buffalo Bill Days was likely to return next year. And she said the event is fueled by volunteers, and organizers are always looking for new ideas and people to execute them.

“We need volunteers that are willing to sign up early, take a small piece of the festival and run with it,” she said.