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Crook County Fairgrounds leaders need more volunteers to get everything done

CENTRAL OREGONIAN FILE PHOTO
 - Christmas in the Pines is one such event at the Crook County Fairgrounds that requires many volunteers.

"We always have something to do," says Crook County Fair Board member Stan Flynn.

He is referring to the fairgrounds, where leaders depend on volunteer help to take care of smaller tasks and projects that staff and board personnel are unable to complete because of more pressing needs.

Tasks may include mowing the grass throughout the grounds or running a weed eater along the property. Perhaps they tidy up the flower beds or clean up and put away specific items or equipment.

The issue fairground leaders face is they don't have enough of a volunteer force to get everything done that needs done. Flynn says that right now they rely on one very good volunteer, but of course, he is not all the time.

"We could use a volunteer five days a week, eight hours a day. We could keep somebody busy," he said. "There are little repairs that need to be done. There are picnic tables here that need to be fixed, and things around the shop always need to be fixed and cleaned up."

Flynn stresses that the volunteer work needed is nothing serious, but rather the easier-to-accomplish chores that fall to the bottom of the priority list while operating and maintaining the fairgrounds.

Adding another volunteer or more would not only make it possible to accomplish those tasks, it would free time up for Maintenance Supervisor Josh Brown to finish other pressing needs. He could commit more time to setting up during the Crooked River Roundup or the upcoming Halloween Harvest Party, Flynn offers as examples.

"Josh has to get things ready and do the main things," he said. "We get water leaks, and Josh has to dig them up and do the repairs. If we had a volunteer who could do other things while he is doing that, it would be nice."

Though the fair board and fairgrounds staff would accept volunteer help for any of the many needs it faces throughout the year, Flynn said they have one specific upcoming event that is in particular need of some help. Christmas in the Pines will return to the fairgrounds in late November, and work is already under way on the drive-thru holiday light display.

Planning the event is a year-round endeavor, and physical labor on the project began six weeks ago, but Flynn says there is still plenty of things a volunteer can do.

"We can use as many people as would like to come down," he said. "We have work for them."

Work on the holiday display typically involves what Flynn calls weekend work parties, but during the weekdays, there is always someone down there doing something who could help get volunteers started on a task. Needs include restringing lights or cleaning and repairing the Christmas in the Pines parade wagon.

"We have a warm place for people to work. They don't have to work outside," Flynn added. "There is no age limit. If a parent wants to bring one of their kids down, we have things for them to do."

Those who want to volunteer for either general fairgrounds work or for Christmas in the Pines are encouraged to stop by the fairgrounds office, or they can give Fair Board Chair Gail Merritt a call (541-447-7238).

"We would like anyone who would like to do something in their community to come down to the fairgrounds to volunteer," Flynn said.

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