Pulling it together: Longtime volunteer loves festival’s growth, changes

August, 2016 Posted in People
Fran Huffman

Fran Huffman

By Mary Owen

Fran Huffman is the indispensable Aumsville Corn Festival volunteer.

“A family member was involved in the festival and asked if I would like to help out, so my mother and I began doing so, and have continued for 27 years now,” said Huffman, who also is also on the Festival Board and volunteers for the Aumsville community and the Aumsville and Salem police departments.

Huffman first worked at the Agripac Company in Salem for eight years, while attending high school and college. She then worked for the Internal Revenue Department, was a teacher/child development director for the Salem YMCA for 20 years, and worked for the Salem Housing Authority until budget cuts axed her position after 10 years.

She returned to school and became a certified nursing assistance, and was called to work for the Salem Police Department four years ago.

“I love volunteering and making people happy,” said Huffman, who is married with two children and a grandson. “I see growth each year with the corn festival and love the changes. Seeing people having a great time attending something we work so hard for all year is so rewarding.”

Huffman said she finds volunteering a great way to give back to her community.

“It’s like paying it forward,” she said. “It always makes someone else feel good.”

Huffman plans to continue working with the Aumsville Corn Festival.

“I want to for sure see the 50th anniversary happen and be a part of that event,” she said.

“I was the board secretary for many years and right now just enjoy being a general member. I enjoy being in charge of the corn sales area of the festival and the coordinator for raffle prizes.”

What Huffman wants to see is more local entertainment, which the festival board is adding.

“Maybe some more healthy food vendors and/or produce vendors,” she said. “I would like to see the parade grow a little. More volunteers to help plan and assist with the festival would be awesome!”

The Aumsville Corn Festival brings anywhere from 12,000 to 14,000 to Porter-Boone Park, with some folks even moving to Aumsville after attending the annual event, Huffman said.

“Through funds raised at the festival, we are able to help out the schools, police and fire departments and food banks,” she said.

Four years have passed since Huffman and her husband, David, purchased a home in Aumsville after moving from Salem to Sublimity in 2008.

“I like being a part of the Aumsville community and being able to see change in the community,” she said.

Huffman encourages anyone with an interest in helping to be on the Aumsville Corn Festival Board and/or to help with the yearly planning and undertaking to “come to any of the meetings and join in the fun!”

Committee meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the first Monday of the month at the Chester Bridges Memorial Community Center. This year’s festival takes place on Aug. 27 at Porter-Boone and Mill Creek parks. The theme is “Music’s Hoppin’ and Corn’s Poppin’. For information, call Sonny Newson at 503-313-2325 or Amy Evans at 503-856-6641.

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