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Collaboration of city, festival, businesses brings back popular summer attraction

Last year, the community went through an emotional roller coaster when it learned there wouldn't be a carnival at the annual Sandy Mountain Festival. But this year, because of a collaborative effort of the Farmers board, Leathers Oil Co., AntFarm and the city government, the carnival will return to its usual site at 38600 Proctor Blvd.

"I guarantee it wasn't the AntFarm's fault (that it didn't happen last year)," said Sandy Mountain Festival board President Martin Montgomery.

It was never in question if the space for the carnival would be available last year, but event organizers and city staff feared the space where the carnival workers set up their trailers to sleep, the now city-owned site of the old Cedar Ridge Middle School, would be under construction. Without a guaranteed space somewhat nearby for the workers to stay, the carnival was a no-go.

"A carnival is useless unless everyone has a place to stay," Montgomery said.

Mayor Stan Pulliam said he saw a lot of what transpired with the carnival cancellation last year was "miscommunication," so "the big role I wanted to play this year as mayor was matchmaker. There's so many different entities that have to come together to make this happen."

For years the carnival has served several purposes in the community. "We brought this carnival in because we needed something for the teens to do and we took the proceeds from the carnival for the Fourth of July fireworks we used to host," Montgomery noted.

Now the funds accompany those from the festival in Meinig Park in providing two $1,000 scholarships to local graduates, and this year to funding a $1,500 grant for art education at local schools.

"It's about the kids," Montgomery said. "Even the proceeds from the carnival go to the kids. The money goes to a good cause."

The Mount Hood Farmers Market, which operates at 38600 Proctor Blvd. from May through October will be open Friday, July 5, but not Friday, July 12, for the carnival to use the space. Montgomery told AntFarm director of operations Kathy Cancilla that the festival plans to have the market's tent back in place before Friday, July 19.

"We are grateful to the AntFarm," said Val Gillum, the new carnival coordinator for the festival. "(The carnival) is a huge thing for the community.

"We're all about community," Cancilla added. "The might of one, the power of many, right? (It's about) coming together to embrace traditions and make something good for the community."

Lila and Brent Leathers of Leather's Fuels were also included in the conversation as landowners of the AntFarm's outdoor property, and were active in returning the carnival to the Mountain Festival. "It's not the same without (the carnival) driving through town," Lila Leathers said. "This is our hometown. I have a lot of fond memories of Sandy. I like to see the festival and see the kids here have something to enjoy."

"If we can't hold onto things for the kids, what are we doing as adults?" Gillum added.


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