Old Settlers’ committee seeking volunteers; photo gallery included

by Dennis Sharkey

Organizers of the Oskaloosa Old Settlers’ Reunion were glowing after another successful festival this year despite some rumors of doom and gloom weeks before the event.

Festival Chair Cathy Dailey and others were concerned about the lack of participation in planning and hosting the event. She said she wanted that rumor out there to get people thinking.

Dailey’s plan worked and volunteers helped pull off the largest financial windfall the festival has ever seen despite crowds being slightly down from years past when the festival was held the week after Fourth of July.

However, Dailey and other organizers want to stress that there is still a need for volunteers when it comes to planning the event. She and a handful of others spend a great deal of hours planning the event throughout the year. The committee will start planning for next year soon.

Dailey has been an organizer for more than 30 years. The ideal situation would be to bring in more 20-and 30-somethings to the committee.

Organizers were elated last year when Matt Miller, a young Jefferson County resident, read a story in the Independent and decided he wanted to help. Miller not only helped but ran last year’s festival in the absence of Dailey. She said the plan is for Miller to take over as the chair.

Miller appeared to fit the roll by leading the wrap-up meeting held days after the carnival rolled out of town.

About a dozen volunteers met at the Little Red Barn and briefly reflected on success before the conversation turned to improvement.

Volunteers were taking notes during most of the events. Festival goers next year can probably expect some tweaking from the committee.

One suggestion that generated a lot of discussion was the children’s games and a long lapse of downtime on Saturday afternoon. The committee may move the children’s games to a later start in the day to generate more participation and solve some of the dead time issues.

Another topic was locating space to add additional rides to the carnival. Dailey said the carnival operators have more to offer but lack the space.

Communication with the public has also become a key focus. Old Settlers’ has set up a Facebook page that not only highlights the event but will be a destination for information.

“That will be the epicenter for information,” Miller told the committee.

Facebook users can go to the page and click on the “like” button to have updates sent to messages boards. A photo gallery from this year’s festival is up at jeffcountynews.com.

Next year’s Old Settlers’ Reunion will be the 111th edition.

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