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Mayor Pollard Updates Kiwanis as Carmi Fest Eclipse Festival Nears

The countdown has been on for years now, but it’s getting real especially for city officials including Mayor Jeff Pollard as we’re now within two weeks of an unprecedented solar eclipse.  To capitalize on the crowds expected to descend on the area for the celestial event and hopefully seed future festivals, Pollard and colleagues have organized Carmi Fest, a 3 day music celebration to precede the spectacle.  He gave Carmi Kiwanis Club members some insight as we approach the April 5th – 7th event to be held at Burrell Woods Bicentennial Park.

Currently, about 500 tickets are sold.  The mayor has said the festival can hold up to 5,000 people.  The weather will play a big part on whether the crowd skews toward the lower end of estimates (around 30,000 people) to potentially well in excess of a hundred thousand out of area visitors.  As far as his thoughts on planning the festival, he says being in the path means people are coming and if he can make the most out of what’s coming anyway, it can set the city and region up for future successes as well.

“If this is successful, we’re wanting to try to set something up to where we do an annual event the weekend before the 4th of July.  We’d like to have a Blues and Barbecue Fest out there with the same caliber of entertainment.  The part of the park where the picnic area is at and the Boy Scout house is, we’d like to have craft vendors set up over there and food vendors and a whole weekend event.  And then to grow that, we’ve toyed with the idea of doing Christmas in July, push White County Christmas, and the Christmas Elves and Lights of Hope, and do a big fundraiser for all of that at once.  So that’s the goal is to make enough money we can put it back in the account and be able to plan for each next year’s event.”

Food vendors for the Carmi Fest Eclipse Festival include The Hickory Stick, 5th Street Market Food Truck, The Green Pig, Simply Scooped Ice Cream, and Italian Ice.  Pollard has the dates and times for a stacked weekend of entertainment.

Tumble Time will have inflatables set up for all ages throughout the weekend.  The Carmi Elks hold the special event liquor license and will be in charge of beer/alcohol tents.  Pollard says no alcohol will be allowed to be brought into any of the designated areas.

Parking is available within the Burrell Woods Bicentennial Park for all events.  Anyone coming in for the festival needs to enter at the Dog Park entrance and follow signs to designated areas.  The main campgrounds is already reserved, a few tent camping sites remain available however.

Learn more about the festival and get tickets online at

  1. bob
    March 21, 2024 at 5:01 pm

    be nice to get something permanently in town that residents can go to and enjoy good clean fun …skating rank…. bowling alley, movie theater… a place where have bands to play but not in bars….nice clean fishing lake…. something to do besides going to a bar or walmart , a restaurant like golden corral etc. for older folks to do that can’t go out of town…maybe a hospital or a 24hr clinic instead wasting money on things like eclipse fest. just a few ideals.

    • Outlaw
      March 21, 2024 at 8:00 pm

      While these are all good ideas with great intentions I am sure I really think you need to look at a comparison of other towns and show me which ones of these size and demographics of Carmi have the things you listed.

  2. Jones
    March 22, 2024 at 3:43 am

    The local cafe’s can’t find enough workers to keep the doors open on the weekends.

  3. RJ
    March 22, 2024 at 8:20 am

    Personally, I think what the mayor and city are doing here is a great thing. The city should absolutely be run like a business and taking advantage of events, whether celestial or otherwise, is sound practice. Of course they aren’t going to please everybody, but last I checked, senior citizens aren’t the only generation of residents living in the city to cater to. Everything a city does should be about growth and improvement and I wholeheartedly commend the mayor, the alderman, the city workers and the entire city, writ large, for making this event happen. To echo the comments made by Outlaw, you don’t get all those things Bob mentioned by sitting on your hands and simply collecting tax dollars. You have to grow thru “extracurricular” activities and show these businesses like Golden Corral, as an example, that there is a solid business case to justify expansion into Carmi, period.

    One other note as it pertains to alcohol / bars; simply put, they sell and generate revenue. While its absolutely true that bad things can happen when alcohol is involved, as long as the city and law enforcement are exercising their due diligence and oversight, you can’t ask for anything more. Personally, if they were to ban alcohol outright and not cordon it off to certain areas, I think it would be worse. People are going to find a way to get their booze, no matter what. By controlling distribution and applying enforcement measures, the city is absolutely doing the right thing while reaping benefit for its residents thru the realization of revenue to be cycled back into the community.


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