SummerFest 2009 a success despite long odds

Thursday, July 9, 2009
Roachdale Town Marshal Mike MaHoy, right, talks with three-time Roach Race winner Larry Kersey. Every year, Kersey named his roach Turkey Merle and trained him for months.

ROACHDALE -- The Roachdale PRIDE Initiative knows how true the phrase "It takes a village," really is. Less than a month ago, the group faced what seemed like insurmountable odds to make their SummerFest event happen.

Because of street closings and a detour through the downtown area, no streets could be closed for SummerFest being planned for July 3 and 4.

After several weeks of searching for a safe location, TDS Telecommunications Corp, jumped in to help the community by generously providing their employee parking lot located near the Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

Later, Nick Ruskowski, TDS Regional Market Manager, informed PRIDE that TDS would help in sponsoring the event with a gift of $500.

Additional sponsorships were sought to support the event. PRIDE donated $500 earned from a barbecue held during the 2008 Fall Garage Sale Days.

Other gifts of $100 or more were received from Crop Production Services, Co-Alliance, Delta Theta Tau Sorority, Jim Derringer, "No Sail" Splash Guards, North Salem State Bank, Peavy, Tri County Bank and the Yahraus Family.

Gifts supporting the SummerFest were received from Asher Tire, Nancy Buser, Hoosier Heartland State Bank, J & J Liquors, Morgan and Servies Funeral Home, Nolan's Barber Shop, Porter's Greenhouse, Roachdale Auto Parts and Marilyn Wells of Lafayette.

This financial base offset the costs of the children's amusements and insurance for the event.

Numerous community members organized events for the two-day hometown gathering. As the originators of a summer Fish Fry, VFW Post #3284 served meals and held a gas card raffle both days. They also provided entertainment by Nashville Connection on Friday evening.

The PRIDE Initiative enlisted the help of community members to hold additional events. The Stephen Edwards family organized and ran the Roach Race gaining knowledge from Larry Kersey and Don Steward on what needed to be done.

The Putnam County Museum loaned Roach Race related items back to the community. Tom Turpin of Purdue University Entomology Department provided roaches for the race. Roach catchers included Jacob Cramer, Tyler Edwards and Ed Sheldon as well as Christopher, a volunteer from the gathered crowd. Janice Fry of JF Trophies provided the grand champion trophy given to Ryan Muse with roach Bob.

Participation prizes were provided by Casey's General Store. Holly Cook made available souvenir roach jewelry. Jason Beheler of Indianapolis and Ron Viehe of North Salem photographed the historic return of the Roach Race to the community calendar.

While rain soaked the event on its second day, all events were still held. Delta Theta Tau offered biscuits and sausage gravy and baked items. The Bruce Harbison family conducted a Pedal Tractor Pull for children aged eight and under with 13 children participating as the bystanders cheered them on.

The winners were: Class I, Brier Riggle; Class II, Clayton Collins; Class III, Cody Perkins; Class IV, Max Pickel.

Bane Equipment and Big R of Crawfordsville provided Eve's Ice Cream and gave toy tractors for the winners.

Later in the day, Nancy Buser and Caroline Jones rallied owners and their pets for a Pet Parade. Judges Rita Lieske, Sandy Sillery and Ed McBride, all from neighboring communities, chose Seth Furman and dog Lady as the Grand Prize Winner.

Ryan Muse, 10, is the 2009 official Roachdale Roach Race winner. Over 150 people attended the race and 36 races took place last Friday night at the revivable of the 1980-90's event.

Best Costume was awarded to Rebecca Muse with Sarge; selected as Prettiest Pet was Judy Howard with Chatzi and chosen as Best Pet and Owner Team was Rita Reffett and Flower. Roachdale Hardware Store provided the Grand Prize. Casey's General Store and Nancy Buser provided additional category prizes. Allen's Video Store provided participation prizes.

The rain also could not wash out the parade, organized for the second year by Connie Edwards. Complete with fire trucks, police cars and floats the entourage paraded the entire route among onlookers huddled under umbrellas. Other participants included Rick Adam's cars, Bernie's Pizza and Eve's Ice Cream, Kara's Country Cottage, the Senior Citizens Puzzle Group, Roachdale Christian Church, Roachdale Presbyterian Church, Sprague Septic Service and Portable Toilets and Tender Hearts Day Care Center.

"Rain did hinder the plans of other participants. While the weather severely dampened the use of the inflatables from Big Bounce Fun House Rentals, during the day children were seen splashing and playing happily.

Already wet from the rain, Mark Engel and Josh Means submitted to being dunked while Tony and Cindy Ryan and Carrie Burdine kept hurlers in check," said PRIDE member Bonnie Yahraus.

Also affected by the weather was the Memorial Balloon Release that was cancelled. Organizer Pat Allen has suggested planning an Ice Cream Social and rescheduling the release with that event.

Meeting various needs of conducting a community gathering were "NoSail" Splash Guards, Roachdale Building Supply, the Roachdale Public Library, Roachdale Fire and Police Departments and Sprague's Septic and Portable Toilets.

The Banner Graphic, Hoosier Topics, the Journal Review, The Paper and Roachdale Christian Church provided communications. Radio stations airing publicity were 94.3 FM, 103.9 FM, 106.3 FM and 1050 AM. The new town Web site, created by Chris Pickens, carried the schedule of events. Martha Boruff designed the SummerFest logo.

Barbara Phelps, Cheryl Marshall and Bonnie Yahraus sought support from donors for raffle prizes. Prizes were made available by: Almost Home, Applebees, Ashley Square Cinema, Bernie's Pizza and Eve's Ice Cream, Bonton, Busenbark Lawn Equipment, Capri 8 Cinemas, Country Folks Dairy Bar, Great Clips, Curves, Kara's Country Cottage, Klippers Style and Tanning, Kroger's, Monical's Pizza, Niks-n-Cuts, Peebles, Pizza Den, Putnam Inn, Scott's Market Basket, Shoe Sensation, Smart Style Salon, Some Beach Tanning, Stevenson's Ace Hardware, Quality Inn Crawfordsville, Roachdale Tap and Café, Smart Style Salon, Some Beach Tanning, Walden Inn and Walmart.

Proceeds from the raffle helped to offset SummerFest expenses. Stephanie Myer and Joanne Miller are aiding in contacting Raffle Winners.

"Then of course there are the attendees and possibly unacknowledged others who helped to make Roachdale SummerFest 2009 possible even in the face of obstacles and inclement weather.

The PRIDE Initiative would agree that every position of assistance filled was of importance to producing the SummerFest. "Thank you" to the village of participants who made this Hometown Gathering a reality and became the "YOU" in Comm,"YOU"nity," said Yahraus.

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