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2/6/2013 2:25:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Founders' Days-Apple Days to stay separate, for now
Kacie Thrift
Staff Writer



Over the course of the past few months, the Cashmere Chamber of Commerce Board and the Chelan County Historical Museum Board have been discussing whether or not they would combine the two main events in Cashmere, Founders' Days and Apple Days. After much deliberation, the boards have agreed not to combine the festivals, at least not this year.

"We were running out of time," said Chamber Manager Jill FitzSimmons. "We are putting a tight squeeze on both event committees and it wasn't working."

However, this does not mean the two events won't be combined in another year or two. The two boards have agreed they will continue the discussion to move toward one event in the future. FitzSimmons said even though there will be two separate events this year, the ultimate goal is bringing them together someday.

This decision comes after nearly four months of discussions between the chamber and museum boards about possibly combing the two events. Founders' Days, which is held the last full weekend of June, and Apple Days, held the first weekend in October, have hit a few road blocks in the past and the committees are trying to come up with a way to fix those issues.

Both events have troubles raising enough money to break even and both have troubles with having enough locals volunteer their time to make the events happen. Both of the events are longstanding festivals in the history of Cashmere but are having too many challenges with attendance, attracting volunteers, and finances.

In 2008, Founders' Days raised more than $14,500, but in recent years, that number is decreasing by 50 percent. Apple Days costs around $3,000 to put on each year and brings in anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000. Therefore, the museum isn't necessarily raising money, they are more or less breaking even.

The possibility of combining the two events came from the idea that if the committees and resources from both events are combined, the festivals could overcome their recent challenges.

On Jan. 10, a public meeting was held at the Cashmere Middle School and over 40 people were in attendance to express their opinions on the possibility of combining the two events. Written comments were taken until Jan. 14 and then three representatives of each board met with each other to discuss the public opinions and the thoughts of each board.

"We learned through this process there is support from the public in combining Founders' Days and Apple Days at a later date," said Alex Cruz, president of the chamber. "However, we agreed we need a little more time come up with a plan. The chamber and museum will continue to support one another in their individual efforts this year."

On Jan. 15 the representatives of the museum and chamber agreed to go back to their boards and recommend combining the two events. The chamber unanimously passed that, "The chamber will not combine Founder's Days with Apple Days at this time but is committed to continuing discussion with the museum to move toward one event in the future. A community committee will be established to look into options in the future."

FitzSimmons said she is hoping to build a committee with one representative from each board and organizers from each event to figure out the future of the two festivals and what a combined festival would look like. Tom Baldwin, the museum board president, agreed with Cruz.

In a press release from the chamber, Baldwin said, "This is not a new discussion in Cashmere. We believe we have made progress and we will continue to work toward determining what's best for the community in the future."

Founders' Days will mark its 35th anniversary this year and will be held on June 29. Apple Days, which is a celebration of the apple harvest and a fundraiser for the museum, will be held Oct. 5-6.

FitzSimmons said a committee will soon be made to discuss the future of the two events and when that committee is made, the people on it will have a long process to go through to figure out what is best for the community and both events.

"We don't want to be in a hurry," FitSimmons said about the decision to combine the events. "We want to do what is best for the community and I think we are moving that direction."

Kacie Thrift may be reached at 782-3781 or reporter@cashmerevalleyrecord.com.





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