Three Residents Receive Fishers Community Partner Award
On behalf of the Fishers Town Council, President Scott Faultless awarded three Fishers Freedom Festival volunteers the “Fishers Community Partner Award” for their outstanding contributions to the festival over the past 20 years. Darcy Bryant, Don Dragoo, and Rhonda Wright have donated their time year-round for a large-scale, two-day event that entertains around 45,000 attendees from around Indiana and even many parts of the United States.
Back in 1989, these individuals were part of the founding group for the Fishers Parade and Festival and decided to execute a community gathering to celebrate Independence Day. With the help of Bryant, Dragoo and Wright, the event originated as a one-day community picnic, parade, and a few games for the children. Due to the overwhelming participation by the public, this event grew to a two-day event.
“They have been a great asset to our organization and should feel very proud of what they have done for our community,” stated Festival Executive Director Jennifer Kehl. “Giving 20 years of dedication and time as they have is a very recognizable accomplishment. With an event of such magnitude as the Fishers Freedom Festival, it takes hundreds of volunteers to make it successful. The community you live in is what you make of it. To make it the best it can be, you need to contribute by volunteering.”
Darcy Bryant helped with the first festival in many various tasks. When food vendors were added to the festival the second year, she managed and supervised the vendors so that non-profit organizations sold food on Saturday and local businesses sold food on Sunday. In 1999, Bryant moved on to handle the Business Tent switching from a smaller group of individual company tents set up at Holland Park to one very large tent encompassing over 100 vendors through 2007. She has also served on the festival’s board as Treasurer, a Division Leader for the Main Parade since 1990 and has been on the Scholarship Committee.
Don Dragoo handled the clean-up of the first festival which lasted one day, then managed the Children’s Parade for eight years watching the participant level increase to around 350 children. In 1998, Dragoo progressed by taking on the responsibility of organizing the Main Parade which he still handles today. This parade draws in thousands of attendees filling in all spots of the parade route year after year. He has been President since the festival’s board of Directors’ inception in 1994. Lastly, Dragoo is on the Strategic Planning Committee for the recently operational “Volunteers of Fishers” organization, supported by the Fishers Freedom Festival, which helps Fishers residents who want to volunteer in the community and match them up with various Fishers organizations and businesses that need assistance for events that help improve our community.
Rhonda Wright has managed the Entertainment Tent which hosts a wide variety of local performing groups and been a Division Leader for the Main Parade since the festival’s inception. In the early years of the festival, she helped with the Free Games Booth. Wright, long-time Fishers resident who grew up attending the Hamilton Southeastern schools, also has been a frequent member of the Festival Board as Vice President over the years.
All three volunteers were valuable contributors to the idea and creation of the Fishers Freedom Festival twenty years ago, are long-time Fishers residents, and have assisted with various festival fundraisers throughout the years. Such events include golf outings and the “Christmas in October” craft fair which draws in a crowd of approximately 1500 visitors and contributes tens of thousands of dollars to the festival’s budget.
The mission of the Fishers Freedom Festival is to encourage fellowship through civic partnerships and citizen involvement by creating a safe environment, developing needed community services, promoting family integrity and striving to improve the quality of life for every resident by investing in human potential.
The 21st Annual Fishers Freedom Festival will be Saturday, June 27 & Sunday, June 28, 2009. The Festival is always in need of volunteers at different levels of participation. For more information on volunteering or about the festival, please visit www.FishersFreedomFestival.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit 8601 East 116th Street in Fishers or call 317-595-3195.