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Stevens County Times Editorial: Good idea or not to move Prairie Pioneer Days?

A girl grabs candy in the 2018 Prairie Pioneer Days Parade July 15. File photo/Stevens County Times

It's tempting to say moving the Prairie Pioneer Days celebration to September is a mistake. It's just as tempting to say keeping the celebration in July would have been a mistake.

The truth is: Prairie Pioneer Days can improve or slip downhill in either month.

There is plenty to like about Prairie Pioneer Days but there is also room for improvement. The future success of the celebration doesn't depend solely on the Morris Area Chamber of Commerce Board or any of its related committees. The community has an important role to play.

Any town festival, celebration or county fair depends on volunteers willing to plan, raise money and work some long hours during the event. That type of volunteer is increasingly difficult to find, not just in Morris, or Stevens County, but in lots of places.

Work demands, an important desire to spend time with family and friends, and even demands of year-round activities for our children, can limit people's ability to volunteer. But if we are honest, sometimes we just use those as excuses.

The same demands seem to keep people from attending Prairie Pioneer Days events.

Moving Prairie Pioneer Days to September won't magically result in significantly more volunteers or increased attendance but the chamber board has determined the move will help in both areas.

What will also help is to seriously evaluate the slate of activities and ask tough questions such as what is the audience for activity A, what is the cost associated with this activity and how many volunteers will be needed for activity B?

What will also help is for the community members to ask what is keeping them from volunteering for, or participating in, Prairie Pioneer Days activities?

When serious and even tough questions are asked, it should result in healthy discussion and ignite some new passion for Prairie Pioneer Days while preserving the dedication that's already been established.

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