A combined two-day estimate of over 1,360 people flowed into Hempstead Hall for the initial 2017 Outdoors Expo held over the past weekend, which also included 646 for the Craig Morgan concert.

A combined two-day estimate of over 1,360 people flowed into Hempstead Hall for the initial 2017 Outdoors Expo held over the past weekend, which also included 646 for the Craig Morgan concert.  
Hempstead Hall Director Dolly Henley said, “Overall, all vendors were pleased with the turn out for the first year and thought the facility worked great for the Expo. Several vendors asked for their same spot next year.”
Henley also said the vendors supported the headliner entertainment and recommended more entertainment throughout the day.
“The vendors were pleased with the number of contacts they made at the Expo working to increase their customer base,” she said.
The cold snap over the past weekend — largely in contrast to the late Spring-like that Hope has experience over the current week — may have been a factor in attendance, and some vendors also had outdoor locations around the hall itself.
Henley said, “The weather is always unpredictable. The temperature was in the upper 40's during the Expo, which happened to be the coolest days we've had in a couple of weeks. The week before we experienced 70 degree weather.”   
Henley added that some of the vendors recommended moving back a few weeks and one mentioned going to the Fall with the Expo.
Henley said the Expo brought a new energy and level of excitement as a brand new event, and she said she was pleased with how it went.  The idea of having an Expo-type event had been talked about for a while.
“The idea of an Outdoor Expo was on the original list of events to attract to Hempstead Hall before the facility was built. I called Gregg Rothwell, of Rothwell Marine in Hope, back in October and asked him to bring out a boat so we could visualize the Outdoor concept,” Henley said.
“Gregg was gracious to accommodate me, and from that moment, the staff knew we could offer the Expo.  There are two roll up doors in the Conference Center and both were used for ingress and egress,” she said.
As expected, the Expo was heavy in attendance from Hope and surrounding Hempstead and Nevada counties, but Henley said Expo visitors traveled from Ashdown, Kirby, DeQueen, Nashville, Lewisville, Foreman, Mineral Springs, Fouke, Texarkana, Blevins, Emmet as well as out of state locations like Broken Bow, OK, Bloomburg, TX,and Queen City, TX.