Don’t like the Harvest Festival schedule? Time to help out

August 5, 2013

Our View. An editorial by Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

I’ll never forget my first day of high school at Mason County Central. An all-school assembly was held. Then-principal Bruce Smith got up and gave us the ground rules of the year. I don’t remember much of what Mr. Smith said, except for one thing. He said something that has stuck with me the rest of my life. He told us we all needed to be part of society and he strongly suggested that you “lead, follow or get out of the way.”

That quote seems very fitting in the case of the Scottville Harvest Festival, and pretty much any other community event. On Sunday, MCP posted a story about some of the changes in this year’s Harvest Festival schedule, including the elimination of the ox roast and the carnival. We did not go into a lot of detail of the reasons why these events have been eliminated. Those questions have been asked and we expect the answers later today.

Being a person who has been involved in the Harvest Festival in one way or another through the years — along with other community events — I can say, “unofficially,” that the reasons are quite simple and come down to two things: Money and volunteers.

Many people have commented on our Facebook site and on this site about the changes. It’s unfortunate that very few of those people stepped up and said: “What can I do to help?” or “Where do I send my money?” It’s very easy to type complaints and suggestions on a computer, it’s another to actually step forward and help. This same scenario ¬†happened a few years ago when the Festival needed to eliminate the carnival. Several people were publicly critical of the decision but few stepped up to the plate to help. Instead, the excuses were: “I’m just too busy.”

 

Speaking about money, do you ever wonder who pays for events like the Harvest Festival? Some people have suggested the entertainment tent help pay for the festival. The tent helps to fund other area organizations, just like in its beginnings it helped fund the Scottville Fire Department, which meant better equipment to save lives and property. Nowadays, the tent helps fund educational programs and offset other costs of the festival. They still help out the fire department too. Volunteers come forward and give their time to do this for those programs.

Events like the Harvest Festival are not funded by tax dollars. They are funded by private businesses. And they are funded by individuals like yourself.

The Scottville Harvest Festival is organized by the Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce. It is an event the chamber inherited when the two chambers merged. Many people have suggested the merger should never have happened. That’s pretty much another editorial, but the reality is the Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce was no longer able to sustain itself. In many ways that move was a sign of the times. It’s time we stop this attitude of “us versus them.” We all live in this county and we are all part of the solution.

Those of us who grew up in the Scottville area have fond memories of the way things used to be. But, those days are done. It’s so easy to say this and then drive up to Wal-Mart or Meijer and buy our groceries and hardware.¬†If you want the good old days back, you need to step up and do the right thing: Start shopping local. Spend your dollars with local merchants instead of sending it to Arkansas.

And, if you want the Harvest Festival back to the way it used to be, call the Chamber of Commerce and ask how you can volunteer or financially contribute.

So, what will you do? Will you lead? Will you follow? Or, will you get out of the way?

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