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Cunningham: It’ll take commitment
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Cunningham: It’ll take commitment

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The 34th—I hesitate to say annual ‘cause, well, you know, last year—celebration of John C. Fremont Days is a little over a month away. Our Board has redoubled its efforts to create a schedule of interesting events...something for everyone.

Due to financial constraints five years ago, two options arose: (1) close the festival—which meant Board members would need to dig into their own pockets to pay off debt or (2) vote to re-organize, continuing the celebration.

The vote was veeeery close. Which meant the festival was on life-support.

Thanks to your donations, John C. Fremont Days continues. Thanks also to a determined brigade of board members whose collective commitment matched the challenge.

I cannot overstate the importance of these dedicated people, taking a risk for the general good of the community.

Carol Fenske is a rock star. No one sets up a parade—where no one wants to listen and politicians shove their way to the front—better than she can. She handled our schedule creation this year...a major task.

Carol’s brother, Jeff Miller, lives in North Carolina. He yearly rides his motorcycle halfway across the nation to help with schedule distribution in addition to dozens of other tasks during the weekend. Commitment, pure and simple.

Mike Roth is another veteran. He took on the rodeo when no one wanted to take on the rodeo. He lives retired in Bellevue, yet continues to support Fremont.

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Jennifer Fisher is our fundraiser. Due to her work, we have received contributions from new sources this year. What an addition!

Let me introduce you to Bill and Phyllis Green. I bet you don’t know them. Those two constructed today’s Clemmons Park venue where presentations that once sat in city park now find additional space for their historical representations. If you want old-school, the Greens have it for you on the east side of town.

Ruth Fischer took over the festival’s finances..for the third time in the festival’s history. And, once again, got the ducks back in the row.

Tracy Kaiser organizes the hot spot of the festival...the information booth. And two years ago brought the 9-11 memorial to town. Board Member of the Year stuff.

What about Liz Rayl? She’s done it all. From creating the “Shadows” tour to working with Youth Activities to now, taking on the car show. It’s a fair question, “Is there anything she can’t handle? Her son, Tyler, is our Board Secretary and all-around worker. Yeah, he’ll be a Senior in high school this upcoming fall.

Luis Delgado deftly handles the sports portfolio. Nan has overseen the Chautauqua Tent for over a decade. This spring, when the need arose, our daughter, Maggie became our social media specialist.

Tony Gray took on the creation of an arts and crafts show in city park. Still in its infancy, we expect more participants than two years ago.

Denise Dowty answered our call for help a few months back. Good to see her new energy.

Where 28 board members served during the 1990s, twelve now carry the torch. Six of those are leaving after July. Will the festival continue? It’ll take commitment.

Don Cunningham of Fremont is a freelance columnist.


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