Fair needs help, groups need new ways of running events
Aug 09, 2012 | 2016 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The plight of the Deerfield Valley Farmers’ Day Fair raises a few questions. As is documented on page 1, fair organizers need help, and lots of it. The fair association needs people in the community who are willing to help shepherd the venerable institution through the foreseeable future.

It’s time for a new generation to get involved. Many of the organizers who have been the backbone of the fair have stepped down or stepped back. The fair needs some new blood to continue.

We hope that many in the community, regardless of background, will realize what a cherished institution the fair is and step forward to help.

As much as the fair association needs some fresh faces and new energy, the broader outlook for many volunteer groups around the valley is much the same.

Many groups rely on volunteers to accomplish their goals, and it is getting harder and harder to find eager and energetic volunteers. So much that gets done in the valley gets done with volunteer efforts, and that can wear on people. We know how hard it is to give up precious free time to help. But we also know there are many who will take up the call and help.

The fair’s plight also shows the dilemma many event organizers face, especially those that are volunteer groups. It’s difficult to find committed individuals to carry on an event from year to year.

We’ve raised this question before, and perhaps it’s time to raise it again. Is it time for a paid events planning staff for the valley?

There are so many events run by volunteer organizations: the Farmers’ Day Fair, the Blueberry Festival, Taste of the Valley, and a number of others large and small. Having a year-round staff that could do some of the heavy lifting on a consistent basis could go a long way toward making many events more sustainable.

There would be a number of questions to settle, not the least of which would be “Where would the money come from?” and “Who would be in charge?” But just because there are questions, many without answers right now, doesn’t mean the ideas shouldn’t be explored.

We don’t pretend to have the answers. The disparate groups need to sit down together and identify common needs and problems, and perhaps begin to identify some solutions.

Two groups that might spearhead the effort may be the chamber of commerce and Rotary. They have a number of inherent resources that could be invaluable for getting something like this off the ground.

Of course, volunteer committees will still be needed, but much of the back end could be done without relying on too many volunteers. Also, the collective memories of those who have been involved through the years would prove helpful.

Once again, the community is faced with new challenges.

First and foremost, the Deerfield Valley Farmers’ Day Fair needs help, and in a big way.

Second, the long-term health of many volunteer events needs new thinking, and new ways of approaching how we as a community prepare for them.

The time to begin solving both is now.
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