Ah, shucks: Corn Fest has openings

December, 2018 Posted in Community, Food And Drink

By Mary Owen

The Aumsville Corn Festival committee has taken a hit recently when key board members stepped down for personal reasons.

“They can no longer put in the time that being a board member requires,” said Sonny Newson, longtime board member. “As president, I have had to be in Aumsville many times a month, even many times a week, as the festival drew close. I moved to Milwaukie well over a year ago, and it is just too far away to manage the festival in the manner it requires.”

Newson announced last January that he would stay on to take the festival through its 50th season and then would step down in January 2019.

Newson quelled the rumor that board members stepped down due to the newly elected city council, saying they were not resigning and their leaving was not in any form of protest to the Aumsville elections.

“We are private citizens who stepped up to serve out community and have been doing so for a number of years,” he said. “As our vice president has stated on Facebook, life has a way of changing one’s direction and it has happened to a number of our board members.”

Newson said Vice President Amy Evans is stepping down due to family health issues. The board treasurer and secretary are also stepping down due to family issues. All are willing to continue helping with the festival as time allows, Newson said.

“We have all loved working on the festival and with the city, and don’t want to see it fail or dissolve,” he said. “We are not abandoning the festival, we are just stepping down.”

Mayor-elect Derek Clevenger said his understanding was in line with Newson’s information.

“My understanding is that for several of the committee members this decision had been made before the results of the election came out,” said Clevenger said, who intends to be highly involved with the planning of the Corn Festival as an elected representative of the community.

“From my position I believe I will best be able to support the committee by keeping community members engaged,” he added.

Within a few hours of posting on his official Facebook page that help was needed, Clevenger had “dozens of volunteers – and that number continues to grow.”

“The plan is to make it better,” Clevenger posted. “I already have the ball rolling on quite a few things. Without new members on their board they will dissolve the Corn Festival. So let’s keep it alive and make it that much better!”

Newson said the new board and volunteers will face many challenges. When he stepped in as president five years ago, he said he had little knowledge of undertaking tasks needed to run the festival.

“We had many ideas and a vision of what we wanted to see done,” he said. “Some things worked, some things didn’t. It was a growing time for all of us, just as the new board will come together with a vision of where they want to see the festival go.”

During his time of service, Newson has been putting together a manual of duties, job titles, and a month-by-month timeline of tasks to ease the transition of personnel.

“However, the comments we have heard and seen on Facebook lead us to believe that the folks who are interested in stepping in and taking over want to change pretty much everything,” he said. “So I’m not sure how much help the manual will be to them, but it will be given to the new board members to use and update as they move forward.”

The Aumsville Corn Festival is a nonprofit effort not connected in function to the city of Aumsville, which runs the parade. The committee runs the festival under its own bylaws, Articles of Incorporation and Memorandum of Understanding with the city.

Newson has interacted with city agencies as needed and conducted meetings with those agencies prior to the festival to ensure a “smooth flow of supporting tasks” which, he said, “has worked superbly over these past five years.”

Committee members do not have to be a resident of Aumsville. Clevenger encourages all who are interested in planning next year’s event to volunteer by sending an e-mail to amy.evans@wvbco.com. Interested persons are also encouraged to attend the next Aumsville Corn Festival planning committee meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 7 at the Aumsville Community Center.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.