#Washunga22 is in the books, and wow, it was spectacular! Every moment was a whirlwind for the rest of the Chamber staff, me, the Washunga committee, and volunteers.
From the sweetest little Community Night on Thursday to the humbling intertribal powwow to the most epic fireworks display I have ever seen — this festival kept me on my toes and delighted our community and guests.
I know, I know, there are things that we can improve on. We hear the comments and suggestions, and we've read the Facebook posts, and we will address all of them soon. But, this article is about giving thanks.
All good thank you notes should have a warm greeting, a thoughtful detail about the gift, and a personalized message of thanks to the giver. So let's use that model today . . .
Dear Washunga Days Festival 2022 Committee, Sponsors, and volunteers,
I spent my first Washunga weekend in Council Grove, marveling at what you have built. The draw of outsiders into Council Grove was evident — people stopping into the Chamber office from near and far to find out what they could see, eat, and do while they were here was one of the most fun parts for me. Our guests were so excited. Each of them felt as though they had discovered a tiny secret in the middle of Kansas; a festival that celebrates our history, heritage, community, food, and music. Many from big cities were in awe that we were capable of producing such an event. I am too.
To our volunteers : One of my many tasks during the festival was to check-in volunteers. You operated the gates, drove visitors around in golf carts, set up and sold merchandise, arranged fences and port-o-potties (in some rather stinky mud), and so much more. You didn't have to. You could have spent your weekend just enjoying the festival, but you dove in and helped make it happen. Thank you. Without you . . . well, let's not even imagine that.
To our sponsors : You came out in a BIG way this year. Because of you, we could have incredible music, kids' activities, fireworks, our Trolly running the entire time, a FREE community night, and giveaway free wristbands to all USD #417 students (and homeschooled students,) and so much more! You funded this experience, and we are very grateful for your trust, enthusiasm, and dedication to keeping this event thriving in Council Grove.
To our Washunga Days Committee members : Some came and went throughout the year as they could contribute, and for that, we are thankful. We know how the year ebbs and flows with workloads, and we appreciate that you gave your time when you could.
A core group remained steadfast; we refer to them as the core committee. They each handled certain significant aspects of this event. These are the only people I will mention by name because they indeed are the heartbeat of this festival . . .
Abby Eakin : Vendor Fair
Jason Ziegler : Fireworks
Jesse Knight : Music
Katie Anders : Volunteers
Monica Simecka : Parade
Nathan Adams : Food Vendors
Renee Berner : Kids' Activities
Scott Glaves : The Vintage Flea
Sharon Haun : Kaw Nation Relations
Sherrie Griggs : Car Show
Stephen & Ashley McKnight : Logistics
Scott Glaves : The Vintage Flea
Susan Harris, Sara Jane Reynolds, and the Chamber Board : Chamber-Frontline-Everything. Yes, our Chamber staff and board members' time working on Washunga is primarily volunteer.
Thank you to this hardworking team, our volunteers, additional committee members, and sponsors. Because of you, Washunga Days 2022 was quite a gift to me, the Council Grove Community, The Flint Hills, and beyond. Thank you for this year, and I'm going to go ahead and thank you for next year too! Because many of you have already expressed your excitement for #Washunga23!
Zoey (The new kid on the block, still overwhelmed with awe.)
One Personal Note : Thank you, Jon Wadick! You stood by me throughout this whole Washunga surprise. I couldn't have worked as hard as I did without you doing the same, right by my side.