How do you put on spring festival during a pandemic?
The answer, sadly, is you don’t.
Events, like the Richmond Mushroom Festival and Sedalia Dream Factory Truck and Tractor Pull do much more than provide entertainment. They generate funds for good causes and financially maintain organizations.
Linda Johnson, chairperson of the Sedalia chapter of the Dream Factory, said Covid-19 forced the cancellation of its 31st annual truck and tractor show, held at the state fairgrounds. The Dream Factory grants the wishes of chronic or seriously ill children from age 3 to 18.
“It’s our only fundraiser for the chapter itself. It raises $10,000 and up to $21,000 in a year. We have to do a minimum of three dreams a year in order to stay in existence, but had to put three dreams on hold, because they were scheduled to go to Disneyworld and we postponed them until everything opens up again,” Johnson said.
Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce postponed its annual May Mushroom Festival, hoping the pandemic would subside enough to have it in mid-June. But with the coronavirus still present, it’s impossible to social distance at such a popular event, so it was canceled last month.
Chamber president Felicia Farabee says it’s better to go big next year.
“This is our 40th. We were expecting at least 20,000 people because of what we were putting together and it just wasn’t going to be feasible,” she said.
Farabee said the cancellation was “a very huge impact.”
“We have reduced our staff to one, due to Covid-19. We have shut our hours down; the office isn’t even open. And it’s not just the chamber, this has hurt a lot of the businesses. We rely so much donations, but they are not able because they are shut down as well,” she said.
Farabee said the proceeds not only fund the chamber, but it’s annual American Celebration, a family-friendly and free event at Southview Park in Richmond during the July 4th holiday.
“Fifty percent (of the chamber’s funding) comes from the Mushroom Festival. Doing the fireworks for the American Celebration is about $13,000. We haven’t asked for helped in several years. With not having our festival, it has taken away our American Celebration, but I keep phone calls about people being unhappy about that, and my thought is, ‘If you’re not happy, help out,’ ” she said.
That’s when one of Richmond’s service organizations stepped up.
Richmond Rotary Club President Becky Trecarichi said the club donated $2,000 through its members and reached out to other community-minded individuals.
The group wanted to help with a firework display, ” to save that for the community,” she said.
“Proud to say we have raised $7,000 already and we need a maximum of $10,000, but a minimum of $5,000, so we are going to have firework. And that pretty exciting for us,” she said.
The city fireworks display will be at dusk on Friday, June 26 at Southview Park. People are encouraged to social distance and no concessions will be available, Trecarichi said.
Those wishing to donate can contact the Richmond Area Chamber Commerce. Their deadline is today, May 15.
The Richmond Chamber is accepted firework donations until Friday, May 15th.