A little street construction didn't stop Farmers Day this year, as the big celebration kicked off with the Children's Parade on Thursday night.It was a beautiful evening to watch all the kids from Jesup who entered the parade for a little "Summertime Fun Time." There were beach balls, boats, swim suits, snorkels and fins. There were even some patriotic-themed entries and a "rock and roll" car, reminding us all of past themes from a couple years ago.
The Prince & Princess Contest was the first event in the Park Pavilion for Farmers Day 2013. As usual, it was a full house to see over 30 contestants compete to wear the crowns as the reigning Farmers Day Prince & Princess. This year, there were two princes and two princesses. Prince Braxtin Kavalier, son of Buddy and Sarah Kavalier, and Princess Hayden Kresser, daughter of Eric and Tina Kresser, were the winners in the age 4-5 category; and Prince Memphis Hueneke, son of Jared and Jessy Hueneke, and Princess Averianna Liccardi, daughter of Andrea and Jeremy Liccardi, were the winners in the 6-7 year old category.
The carnival midway is always packed on Thursday night with the special "wristband rate" for rides. This year was no exception, as the lines to buy ride tickets wound around the ticket booths.
Mike Thoma and friends played the evening audience in the pavilion. Jesup bluegrass musician Gene Waring joined Thoma on stage to play banjo for some great music.
On Friday, the Pet Show drew a small number of entrants, but everyone had fun. The lone cat was really outnumbered by the seven dogs that competed for prizes.
The Mark Hanson family was incredible, as they performed tricks on their unicycles and juggled bowling pins and balls in two shows. They also rode in the Farmers Day parade on Saturday and returned for another pavilion performance Saturday afternoon.
There was lots of music on Friday, with the Doo Wops in the afternoon and Richie Lee and the Fabulous Fifties in the evening. Richie shared his new baby with the audience — a new rock and roller is born.
Saturday began bright and early with the 5K Run/Walk, followed by the Great Farmers Day Parade. Overcast skies and a few sprinkles didn't stop parade chairman Wayne Natvig from getting the parade underway. Music from the Jesup High School, Don Bosco High School and Shriner's band helps make the parade, as did all the floats made by the churches, athletic teams, businesses and class reunions. Dairy Kone passed out cups of ice cream again, JBF gave out bottles of cold water, and there were free maps, scratch pads, caramel corn, pens, beach balls, magnets and candy —lots of candy. Did we mention candy?
Food booths and vendors were packed with customers in the park downtown after the parade. There were the favorites of pork burgers and loins, brats and big hot dogs, nachos, maidrites, fries, funnel cake and mini donuts. New this year were fruit smoothies made by St. Athanasius and bacon bombs by another vendor. The smell of that bacon cooking drew hungry people from all over downtown.
A caricature artist, face painting, music from the gazebo, bingo and jewelry and clothing also filled the park.
Bill Chrastil and Milk & Honey put the finishing touches on the night with their musical performances from the Pavilion.
Nice weather, free entertainment, delicious food, good music, great friends — Farmers Day was certainly "Summertime Fun Time" this year.
“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.”