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home : opinion : editorial April 28, 2016

5/8/2013 9:44:00 AM
Riverfest needs you

T he lifeblood of any community, large or small, is its volunteers.
These are the folks who spearhead benefits, clean road ditches and help out neighbors when the chips are down. They coach ball teams, deliver meals and read in schools.
Now, as the calendar ticks toward June, a dedicated and effective group of volunteers are getting set for what promises to be yet another exciting Riverfest. But this one arrives with a big question mark looming in the background.
Where does Riverfest go from here?
2014 Riverfest chairs needed
This year's Riverfest T-shirts bear the words "Under Construction" over the Riverfest logo, symbolizing Riverfest's efforts to line up a fresh group of volunteers and leaders for 2014 and beyond. Organizers are looking for an overall chair, as well as a parade chair, for next year's Riverfest. It would help if these key positions were filled before this year's Riverfest, so the new leaders could learn the ropes before taking charge.
Riverfest also needs help with a few of the 2013 events.
"We will have a big meeting this Thursday at 5:30 p.m., at the Windom Chamber office (at the corner of 9th St. and 3rd Ave.)," said Mitch Voehl, a Riverfest volunteer. "Anyone who is interested in stepping up and helping Riverfest needs to be at that meeting."
The current Riverfest chairs are Rachel Aamot, Caleb Hanson and Denise Houston. All three are upbeat about the time they've spent with Riverfest. But they agree that the time has come for new blood and fresh ideas. Houston said the current co-chairs will still be around to offer advice, or help solve a nagging problem or two.
"It's fun to do, but we've been doing it for more than 10 years," Houston said, referring mainly to her work with Lisa Peterson as parade co-chairs. "We have some ideas, but we also need people to step up and bring a fresh look at things."
A few needs for 2013
Meanwhile, Voehl outlined current volunteer needs for Riverfest 2013. Anyone interested in helping should call Mitch at 317-1520, or the Chamber at 831-2752.
• Parade barricade monitors. Leading up to the June 8 Riverfest Parade, city crews will place barricades next to each intersection that will be used for the parade. Each intersection needs someone to set up the barricades and sit nearby to make sure no one tries to drive through while the parade is underway.
"The Windom Kiwanis Club has volunteered to help, but that only takes care of half the route," Voehl said. "We probably need about 15 more volunteers. It could be a club, business, family, or just an individual."
• Pontoon rides. Riverfest will offer pontoon rides on the Sunday of Riverfest (June 9) at Cottonwood Lake. One more pontoon is needed for the event.
• Five volunteers to help run the pedal tractor pull at Tegels Park on June 9.
• New to Riverfest 2014 is a Riverfest float, a 1957 Larson speed boat that was donated and reconditioned by Ron Vought of Windom. In this case, Riverfest needs a volunteer to store the 14-foot boat and trailer.
Contact either Mitch or the Chamber office if you can offer a storage site.
Riverfest is one of the most important activities of the year for our community. It is a drawing card, not only for area residents and surrounding communities, but also for Windom natives who have long since moved away. In many ways, Riverfest is a giant reunion for the community.
Talk to most Riverfest volunteers and most will say that putting together this celebration is an extremely satisfying and rewarding experience. It's a big commitment, but we're confident that someone will graciously step forward to chair the 2014 Riverfest and Riverfest parade.
You can come to the rescue by contacting the Windom Area Chamber of Commerce (831-2752) for more information.
- Rahn Larson

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