Friday, August 27, 2004

Festival hits 39th year, but not without struggle


Mason Heritage event almost folded

By Erica Solvig
Enquirer staff writer

MASON - Saturday's Heritage Festival will be a celebration of this Warren County city's past, but a few months ago there was concern the event wouldn't have a future.

Earlier this year, longtime organizers announced they no longer wanted to be in charge. It took a deal involving the city and the Chamber of Northeast Cincinnati, as well as a group of volunteers, to keep the event going.

"It was in jeopardy of not happening," festival chair and Deerfield Township resident Tom Kaper said of the festival, which is in its 39th year. "These folks have gone beyond their duty because they wanted to make it happen. That's why it is happening."

The city agreed to provide $35,000 in funding, in-kind services and liability coverage.

In exchange, the chamber gave administrative support and office space to help the newly created Festivals of Mason Inc., which will organize the Heritage Festival, Christmas in Mason and similar events.

Saturday's event runs all day, highlighted by a 10 a.m. parade, "Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Future." The finals for the first-ever Mason Idol competition will be held in the evening. A full listing of events can be found online at http://home.earthlink.net/~masonheritagefestival/.

Because of the change in command and the late start in organizing (the group got going in April), Kaper said it took a lot of "detective work" to figure out what was needed and pull together the festival.

"We decided to try and give it a go again," Kaper said. "The community has been rallying around the event."

E-mail esolvig@enquirer.com




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