Mustang’s big get-together got a facelift last weekend and attracted record-setting crowds.
The 37th installment of Western Days was held at Wild Horse Park for the first time, and despite major changes from previous years, and sweltering heat, the festival was a success, said Mustang Chamber of Commerce Director Becky Julian.
"This was the best Western Days ever," Julian said. "It was a record-breaking day for us and the transition to Wild Horse Park was a great success."
Wild Horse Park hosted most of the festival’s events, including the chili cook-off, the car show, vendors, food booths and a petting zoo. In the past, many of the events were held near the intersection of State Highway 152 and Mustang Road, but with recent commercial developments, organizers were forced to move the festival to the park.
"The park was the perfect location for the festival because we had more room for everything," Julian said. "It was great for chili cook-off because we could spread it out more."
Julian said this year also brought a record number of vendors.
"We had over 100 vendors, which is amazing," she said. "We usually have around 75, so that is great."
With all the changes this year, one of the events that remained the same was the parade.
People crowded along State Highway 152 for the parade, which featured many different organizations.
MyChurch in Mustang won first place for their large parade float in the non-profit category and the Mustang 4-H and FFA won first place with their float in the student category.
Temperatures hovered around 100 degrees on Saturday and Julian said organizers were prepared for the heat.
"The heat was a problem. I know that there were two heat-exhaustion cases that day," she said. "We kept plenty of water on hand and a lot of the vendors were handing out water for free. This was the hottest Western Days that I can remember in the last 10 years."
Mustang Mayor Jay Adams helped pass candy around at the parade and said he felt the effects of the heat during the day.
"I have attended at least 15 Western Days and I cannot remember one that was this hot," Adams said. "But as far as attendance goes, we had a ton of people and a lot more booths than before. I think things just flowed better at the park, although we had some parking issues."
Adams said he believed next year will be even better after the Town Center expansion construction is completed.
"This being our first year at the park, I think we learned some things," he said. "I was proud with how everything went and with everyone that volunteered."
Julian said she and the Chamber of Commerce and the Western Days Committee is already planning ahead for next year’s festival.
"We are working with the city to enhance the event next year," she said.
The Chamber of Commerce is selling left-over 2013 Western Days T-shirts for $5 this week only at their office at Town Center.