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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune - Granite Falls, MN
  • Heart of the Prairie Days is no more

  • Due to lack of volunteers, the annual Clarkfield summer festivities were canceled.
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    The Heart of the Prairie Days will not be held this summer due to lack of public interest and willingness to volunteer.
    The annual town event, originally scheduled for May 29, 30 and 31, was on the cusp of cancellation, with the Clarkfield Civic and Commerce Board advertising and holding multiple meetings to gather interest and volunteers. In the end, the C&C had to vote to suspend the festivities for this year.
    “It was a very, very difficult decision,” Sue Fritz said. “We scaled down the events based on the involvement of the community ... and even with IT scaled down, we did not have enough people.”
    While there were some who volunteered, the chairpersons to lead in advertising, volunteer coordinating and the parade committees were all left vacant, which the C&C believed to be the biggest jobs for the Heart of the Prairie Days.
    “I don’t want to discount those who do volunteer every year, but we had to vote it down because we didn’t have the chairpeople,” C&C Secretary/Treasurer Stephanie Randall said.
    The need for volunteers for the Heart of the Prairie Days is not a new problem. For several years, involvement has been down, putting extra stress on the few who would chose to lead.
    “Two or three people have been pulling it off,” C&C Vice President Kelly Johnson said. “To be fair, we can’t consistently year to year have just two to three people pulling off the entire town event. We are really getting to a point where we need more ownership and owning committees.”
    At this point, even a groundswell of new support and revitalized interest will not be able to save Heart of the Prairie Days, as several deadlines, especially for parade planning, have already passed. But that doesn’t stop the C&C board members from being hopeful about the future.
    “We are hoping that people will really miss it and go “Oh, I guess it doesn’t just happen,” because sometimes people are just not aware of exactly how much work goes into it,” Fritz said.
    Randall also emphasized the importance of thinking ahead, noting that past successful Heart of the Prairie Days were planned many months in advance, sometimes the summer before.
    “We think we will get enough interest in the future,” Randall said. “This won’t be a ‘forever’ thing.”
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