I want to say thank you to the many, many people who made the 2019 All-American Harvest Festival such a huge success. But the two little words — "thank you" — seem far too inadequate.
Harvest Festival has, for years, been a Chamber of Commerce endeavor. So planning the weekend's events, gathering materials, enlisting volunteers and all of the other details fall on the Chamber. It's a big undertaking. That's why we can't do it alone.
This year, a special events committee was formed with a couple of Chamber board members and four other community volunteers. With the exception of one board member, none of these committee members had previously been involved in planning the Harvest Festival. But each one of them jumped in wholeheartedly to put together a weekend of fun events for the entire family. To say they succeeded is putting it mildly. Members of that committee (in case you want to thank them personally) are Dr. Kim Johnson and Trenton Long from the Chamber board of directors, Roxanne Converse-Whiting, Mary Bell, Casey Madsen and Kimberlyn Vontz. (Round of applause, please!)
Then, each one of these committee members enlisted co-workers, friends, relatives and, in a couple of cases, even strangers. (Well they're not strangers anymore.) These folks rounded up tables and chairs and microphones and white boards and coolers and fence panels ... you get the idea. There are a lot of moving parts when you start to put together events that cover four days. I can't begin to list all of the people who had a hand in the Harvest Festival activities, because I'd surely leave someone out. But there were lots and their time and commitment didn't go unnoticed.
And then there are the participants — the people who left the sidelines to get involved, to do the activities, to have the real fun in all of this. I don't know all of the numbers. I leave most of that to the individuals running events. But I can tell you we had 69 parade entries decked out in red, white and blue cruising down Lake Avenue in front of literally thousands of spectators. There were also 48 vendors at Arts in the Park, 10 teams in the bed races, 42 cornhole teams (and a whole lot more wishing they would have registered), 125 vehicles of all kinds in the car show and nine co-ed softball teams disappointed because rain Saturday night left the fields unplayable.
It was amazing, to say the least.
And guess what ... we're already throwing around some fabulous ideas for next year. Want to be a part of that? Let me know. Have some thoughts on how the things we did in 2019 might work better in 2020? Let us know. We can't make the changes you wish for if we don't know about them and we can't implement new activities you want if we don't know you want them. Feedback is a beautiful thing. We learn from both the positive and the negative, but especially from the constructive. It just takes a minute to pick up the phone (308-537-3505) or send an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Believe me when I say we'll consider it all.
So again, it seems quite insignificant, but THANK YOU for making Harvest Festival 2019 such a tremendous success.
is the Executive Director of the Community Development Office, which encompasses the Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce and the Gothenburg Improvement Company.