For St. Francis Pioneer Days to continue in 2013, volunteers will be needed.
During two public meetings March 15 regarding the future of the June three-day event, 10 people came to the city’s community room to give suggestions to save the event and ways for the event to continue without the city spending roughly $13,000.
The afternoon group, which included residents and business and church members, said it did not want Pioneer Days to go away and suggested starting a community committee, said Barb Held, event organizer and city clerk.
But to survive, the event needs volunteers to help plan the event as well as to work during the Pioneer Days weekend, she said.
Although some community groups already run several events during the weekend, from the tractor pull at the St. Francis Legion and St. Francis Lions’ 5K run, it will help keep Pioneer Days going to have more groups taking on more projects, Held said.
If Pioneer Days doesn’t get enough volunteers, it is unlikely the city will pay for the celebration in 2013. The event needs to be done in a way that will not cost the city money, she said.
It needs to be community event, not a city event, Held said.
Volunteers will be needed to help organize the parade, attend the parking lot, organize and work with the vendors and in other areas.
“The more people involved the better,” Held said.
Last year, St. Francis spent $13,000 on the event, which included overtime for the public works hourly staff to prepare event sites and clean up afterwards.
It’s not that the city won’t contribute to the 2013 event, but $13,000 is a lot of money, said City Councilmember Steve Kane.
Especially as it is taxpayer money, Held said.
If a community group takes over the event, it could even change the name, she said.
There is no point in changing the name, said Tom Smith from the St. Francis American Legion.
A community committee will also bring in new people with new ideas, Held said.
Resident and business owner Tim Holen was disappointed at the meeting turn-out.
“I was hoping there would be more people (at the meetings), not just the same people showing up,” said Holen, owners of St. Francis True Value Hardware.
The next Pioneer Days public meeting will be March 29, 7 p.m., at the St. Francis American Legion, 3073 Bridge St. N.W.
Tammy Sakry is at firstname.lastname@example.org