Jesup has it right
It's now been a couple of days since our group Liverpool "A Tribute to The Beatles" performed at your 2014 Farmers Days Festival in Jesup, Iowa. I've been thinking about everything that was so right about this experience.
First of all, we arrived with our fully loaded down 16' Penske truck thinking about where we are going to unload all of this equipment. We needed to unload a 16,000 watt sound system, stage lighting, video system, wardrobe case, several vintage guitars, amplifiers and drums. That's when I met our contract person, Mr. Alan Wright.
Mr. Wright wearing a red, white and blue patriotic shirt was totally prepared for our arrival. His warm personality, energy and enthusiasm was so well received.
I knew at that time we were in good hands. He first directed our truck down the main street around the venue to a side stage where we were able to unload. This venue was amazing!
The side stage was dock height and had curtains that covered us while setting up. These portable curtains kept us from being seen while other events were going on the main stage.
This venue also had two areas you could order food and drinks from, along with an upstairs that looks like a sound man could mix out of. They thought of everything.
The venue was full of people when we arrived at 4:00 pm and remained full with a variety of entertainment going on all day for all ages to enjoy.
I heard Alan might have had something to do with the building of this venue. He's pretty proud of it, so I wouldn't be surprised.
After our equipment was set up offstage, I walked down the main street taking in all that was going on.
Besides the carnival rides, beer garden and various food vendors, I noticed additional covered shelters where families and friends gathered together visiting and laughing along.
As our performance grew closer, the weather started to look bad. Dark skies, then strong winds, then heavy rain. Even will all of this going on, Alan Wright kept smiling and staying positive.
He knew his venue would keep our equipment and everyone else dry. It did, not a single drop of water was on anything. After that, a beautiful rainbow came out to welcome in the evening.
We took the stage and performed the great songs of The Beatles in front of an overflowing positive and singing crowd.
Everyone we met in Jesup was very nice and helpful. It was a pleasure to be part of your successful event.
Other cities and towns should take a look at how it's done RIGHT in Jesup. It's about families and friends coming together.
Jesup is also fortunate to have another Wright. Alan Wright.
The Beatles wrote a song "All You Need Is Love"
Alan definitely has love for his community and his Jesup.
It's contagious, pass it on.
“It takes a lot of willing people and lots of money to make Farmers Day happen each year,” explained Farmers Day president Alan Wright. “In order for Farmers Day to continue as it has for so many years, we need to have enough income each year. We ask all attendees of Farmers Day events to be sure to patronize all the local Farmers Day vendors, including food and beverage providers located in the park, so that the Farmers Day board will be able to continue the tradition of successful celebrations for years to come.”
It takes over $30,000 to put on the Jesup Farmers Day celebration each summer, according to records of the Farmers Day, Inc. Board of Directors.
Most years, the celebration has returned several thousand dollars in cash flow (income over expenses) to the Farmers Day bank account.
This money is kept on hand as a self-funded insurance policy to make sure all the bills can be paid for the event each year -- even if foul weather or disaster would strike, and all or most of the income expected from the event just wouldn’t materialize. So even in the event of a disastrous year, Farmers Day would have enough money to pay its bills and continue on the next year.
Over the last several decades, Farmers Day has also been able to generate funds for a number of important investments in Farmers Day, and in the community.
1. Farmers Day paid for the building of the huge pavilion in the downtown “Land O’ Corn” Park, where most of the Farmers Day activities take place.
2. Farmers Day paid for the materials for a storage building near the city’s shed on Tenth Street. This storage building is used for Farmers Day materials. (Thanks to Rex Reinhart for providing the labor for this building.)
3. Farmers Day has paid for all or much of many other electrical, concrete and “additions” to the pavilion as needed over the years.
4. Farmers Day funds a scholarship for a Jesup High School senior each year through Dollars for Scholars.
5. Farmers Day has purchased many of the Holiday decorations used in Jesup over the years.
6. Farmers Day has purchased equipment needed to operate the funnel cake stand, investing thousands of dollars over a number of years.
7. Farmers Day paid all the expenses to have the old one-room school house moved to the Jesup School grounds, even moving the rocks from the original foundation into town and replaced them under the school. They also reroofed the old school and put in a new hardwood floor.
8. Farmers Day was in charge of RAGBRAI the year it came through Jesup.
9. Farmers Day made a donation to the Jesup Community School Band program.
10. Farmers Day made a donation to the new All-Weather Track and Football Complex project at Jesup Community School.
11. Farmers Day, in cooperation with the City of Jesup and local organizations, produced the entire Sesquicentennial Celebration in 2010, and the Quasquicentennial Celebration in 1985. Most communities have to fundraise for months to have an historical community celebration.
12. And last, but not least, Farmers Day provides the opportunity for civic and religious organizations to raise funds for a good deal of their annual expenses with their Farmers Day food stands.
However, over the past several years, Farmers Day has seen its largest income stream — the beer garden — drop in half.
The beer garden income normally represents 30% or more of the entire celebration’s operating budget, enough to pay for all the FREE entertainment each year.
In the last two years, however, that income stream has dropped almost in half, resulting in an actual cash loss for Farmers Day in 2012.
The major income streams for Farmers Day each year are:
• The Beer Garden
• The Carnival, which pays a percentage of its income to Farmers Day
• Local non-profit organizations, which contribute 15% of their sales to Farmers Day;
• The Funnel Cake/Mini Donut Stand, which is operated by Farmers Day;
• The 5K Run
• Miscellaneous income — which comes from souvenir sales, t-shirts (when available), history books, cook books, etc.
Expenses for Farmers Day include:
• Stage Entertainment.
This is the largest part of the Farmers Day budget each year, taking 30-50% of the income. Admission has always been free to every single Farmers Day entertainment event -- and frequently Farmers Day is the ONLY venue where a person can see these quality entertainers without paying an admission charge.
• Marketing and Advertising.
Farmers Day has successfully promoted this event regionally for many, many years, resulting in huge turnouts for the celebration each year. Less than 10% of the event’s income is used for marketing.
• Cost of goods sold.
This is the cost of the beer and other beverages, the mix for the donuts and funnel cakes, beer licenses, t-shirts (when sold) etc.
A major expense for Farmers Day each year is insurance coverage.
There are many miscellaneous expenses each year. Prizes for the parade and domestic arts, printing of flyers, tickets, sign-up sheets, decorations and more.
The Farmers Day board decided to NOT offer t-shirts for sale this year because in recent years very little money, if any, has been made from the t-shirts.
It takes hundreds, maybe even thousands of volunteer hours to make Farmers Day happen.
President Alan Wright, and board members Dawn Quackenbush, Dale Rueber, Peggy Shaffer, Wayne Natvig and Kim Adams put in many volunteer hours planning the event each year. Chairpersons for each of the major events also spent a great deal of time planning, then carrying out these events. They include: Doug Frush for the beer garden; Sarah Curry for the Prince and Princess Contest; Wayne Natvig for the Great Parade; Dawn Quackenbush for the Talent Show; Teri Schares for the Children’s Parade; Josh Zuck for the Children’s Games; Pat McIntosh and Karen Frost for the Domestic Arts Show; Kyle Troyer and Steve Pedersen for the 5K run; Jerry and Donna Amfahr for the Square Dance; Paul Nagel for the children’s Tractor Pull, Dave Sabers for all the seating in the pavilion and Alan Wright for everything else!
Each of the organizations that provides food or entertainment booths also have hundreds of volunteer hours involved. They include: St. Athanasius Bingo and Food Booth, Boy Scout Food Both, Lions Club Brats and Hot Dog stand; Jesup School Lemonade Stand; Friends of Library Popcorn and Ice Cream stand.
Request for Support
“We thank all the thousands of people who have supported Farmers Day over the years,” Wright concluded. “We ask for your continued support this year.”