Successful EquiFest truly a community–wide effort
To the Editor:
Whew! After many months of planning, meetings and late nights, we finally had our first EquiFest. From the feedback we have received, it was a success. The vendors and exhibitors all expressed interest in returning next year. Visitors were enthusiastic and seemed to enjoy themselves, too.
First and foremost, I want to thank the County Commissioners for your support of this event. We couldn't have done it without you. The Madison-Morgan Chamber of Commerce carried the idea forward and provided guidance as well as a position on their website. The City of Madison enthusiastically partnered with us to expand Madison Fest and launch EquiFest, and for that I am grateful.
It is amazing how many people it takes to put together an event such as this, and they all deserve recognition. I will start with our awesome sponsors. Our presenting sponsor, Greensouth Equipment, Inc., lent their support long before the committees had been established. Any of you who ate at EquiFest, found that Southern Cross Guest Ranch, a VIP sponsor, did an awesome task of feeding the masses.
Many of our Level 2 sponsors were also committee chairs. Jeanne Dufort of Horse & Home Team not only provided sponsorship, but was invaluable in marketing and budgeting for the event. To top it off, she knew when she made the commitment to volunteer that she wouldn't even be in town to see it as she had long-standing plans to attend Rolex in Kentucky that weekend. Tropical Dream der Bock Farm is owned by Terry Still and Wylie Stokes, who were program chairs and were responsible for keeping the program flowing. Other Level 2 sponsors were Erik Thompson of Edward Jones who provided the use of his conference room and copying machine and manned the information booth; Joy, Jeff and Lindsey Chesnut of Triple Creek Farm in Buckhead; Godfrey's Feed not only provided a sponsorship, but was the city portion of the Farm/City Tour; and Terry and Andrea Byer of Byer Realty in Rutledge. We had many Friends of the Festival sponsors including United Bank, Malone Farms Equestrian Center, Shoestring Farm, Farmer's Hardware, Verner Farms, Radio Shack/Computer Essentials and Madison Rentals, Inc. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for your support.
The committee chairs did a fabulous job. To begin, Rose Mary Hughes, owner of Shoestring Farm, volunteered for the task of procuring sponsors. Even with the tight economy, she encouraged our sponsors to participate. As mentioned above, Wylie and Terry created and executed the program and saw to it that it flowed.
Naomi Mims took the Kid's Corral and ran with it. When the pony ride failed to show on the morning of the event, she ran home and got her own ponies so there would indeed be a pony ride!
Lee Raines, who was recruited by his new wife Kim, did all the space planning and made sure everyone was where they were supposed to be. Jeanne Dufort attended countless meetings and helped design advertising, signage and T-shirts and she kept us in line with our budget. Lynn Wright took over as vendor chair when our other volunteer had to withdraw due to family illness. Donna Smith and Mary Alice Hudson stepped in to assist with the program.
Inge Wendling was responsible for food and provided everything associated with that area. Elizabeth Bell brought us Ed Dabney, who donated his time to our event.
As for the volunteers who worked on Saturday, I would love to mention everyone by name, but unfortunately I don't have all them all. What I can tell you is that so many of the volunteers worked hard all day long! I know one couple must have walked miles up and down the aisles as they got exhibitors to the ring and not one time did they complain or quit. Thank you so much to each and every one of you.
To the horse industry in the county, I appreciate your participation. I have heard so many positive comments and enthusiasm from citizens in general and others within the industry. People were really surprised at the diversity we have right here in Morgan County. I look forward to our future events.
If I have left anyone off the list, please forgive me, but to all who were involved: You did a GREAT JOB!