Freedom Fun Days sits out 1993, to return in 1994 Rain eroded last year's proceeds

June 30, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

Freedom Fun Days has been derailed this year, but its organizers promise that the 15-year-old event will be back on track in 1994.

The six-member Festival Committee will sit out 1993 while it considers alternate sites and juggles dates.

"We have decided to take a year off to evaluate and study what other festivals do," said John Salony, interim festival chairman and president of the Freedom District Business Association, which sponsors the event.

Freedom Fun Days began as a one-day celebration on July 4, 1978. It quickly became South Carroll's major event of the year, said Peggy Holniker, a festival committee member.

"It grew so large and people looked forward to it," she said. "We decided to move it to Labor Day and make it a two-day event."

In the last few years, though, the committee has encountered problems in scheduling a major event on the last weekend of summer.

"That weekend conflicts with a lot of out-of-town vacation plans and parents getting children ready for school," Mr. Salony said. "It hurt attendance. Despite a valiant effort, we were not as successful as we had hoped in 1992."

Mr. Salony said the group probably will push the outdoor event back to the second weekend of September when it brings back the festival in 1994.

Freedom Fun Days included entertainment, rides, contests and a flea market on the grounds of the Sykesville-Freedom Volunteer Fire Department, which received the proceeds from the festival. Those proceeds reached $5,000 in 1991, said Mrs. Holniker.

The committee, which meets quarterly, hopes to make a decision on a site next month. Its members are considering several business and school locations, but Mrs. Holniker said she would be surprised if the committee selects another site.

"The fire grounds have all the necessary outbuildings, and the Ladies Auxiliary serves breakfast and lunch," she said. "The site is the best bet."

Regardless of where the festival is held, the volunteer fire company will receive the profits, she said.

Two days of rainy weather washed out most of the entertainment as well as the profits last year. Mrs. Holniker said the 1994 festival might include a rain date. Planners will also ask entertainers to sign contracts with a weather clause.

"Some were kind and didn't insist on payment, but others wanted their money," said Mrs. Holniker. "We had so many events planned, and we had to pay despite the rainout."

Residents have told committee members they will miss the Fun Days, said Mrs. Holniker. "I just tell them we are gearing up for next year," she said.

The 1994 Fun Days will come back better than before, said Mr. Salony.

"Our objective in the next month is to pin down a location, confirm the dates and build up the membership base in the association," he said.

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