Many people attend the Vernonia Friendship Jamboree and Logging Show each year in Vernonia. Many people return year after year because they enjoy seeing old friends and meeting new people. Others enjoy the events: the parade, lawn mower races, horse gaming and logging competitions. Others enjoy the food, music or other activities. Some celebrate our heritage, whether it’s the logging culture or the fact that Jamboree weekend has been a part of the Vernonia community for almost sixty years.
The Vernonia Jamboree and Logging Show Committee recently distributed a survey to find out just how much attendees really know about the Jamboree. Mostly they wanted to know if people really understand who organizes and pays for Jamboree. It turns out many of us don’t understand just how Jamboree actually comes together each year.
According to the survey results, over a third of respondents think that Jamboree is run by either the Chamber of Commerce or the City of Vernonia. One third had no idea how much it cost to organize and run the Jamboree each year. A third of those who responded thought the Jamboree cost $5,000 or less to run.
Just to set the record straight, Jamboree is organized by volunteers each year-the previously mentioned Jamboree and Logging Show Committee. Fees that are paid by vendors and participants go towards paying the numerous expenses it takes to hold Jamboree each year. Insurance, port-o-lets, and garbage collection are all things that I think most of us just take for granted when we show up each year to enjoy the parade followed by BBQ, elephant ears, and milkshakes.
Recent budget documents show that Jamboree racks up around $10-$15,000 each year in expenses and that over the last several years the Jamboree has operated at a loss.
What else did the committee learn from the survey? 96% of respondents attended the parade last year. Favorite events: Parade, Logging Show and Food Court. Why do people attend? Because it’s fun, to see friends, it’s a fun local event, and to show their community pride.
This past year several new members joined the Jamboree and Logging Show Committee and are attempting to breathe new life into the event. The Committee has several new executive officers and is made up of President Ernie Smith, Vice President Bill Hawkins and Secretary/Treasurer Alicia Normand. The Committee has decided to meet continuously throughout the year on a monthly basis as a way to better plan, organize, and fund raise for the upcoming event.
In fact, the fundraising has already begun. Thanks to a very generous donation from TNW Firearms, Inc., located right here in Vernonia, the Committee has begun selling 800 raffle tickets at $10 each for a 9mm Aero Survival Rifle. (See ad on page 11.) Tickets are available at Napa Auto Parts, True Value, Strassel Automotive in Banks, Sentry Market and Vernonia Hardware. The funds raised will go towards operations of the Jamboree. The Committee also intends to sponsor a hunter safety class for local residents, organized by Eric Larke, Don Shulte, Joel Glass and Frank Cieloha.
The hope is that with a solid funding base the Committee can draw in more events and activities and better promote the event to draw better crowds.
One last thing the survey asked: What improvements to Jamboree would people like to see? At the top of that list: more kid’s activities, more vendors, the return of the car show and more music.
From what I can see after attending the most recent Committee meeting in October, the Committee has heard you loud and clear. They discussed and agreed to lower vendor rates with the hope of attracting more vendors for the weekend. They have already put out a call for, and have heard back from, numerous new musicians, with the idea of expanding the musical offerings next year. They were also discussing how to attract or create more kid’s activities and finding a suitable spot for the car show.
There are a lot of fresh and new ideas being generated by this committee and it is very exciting time for the Friendship Jamboree and Logging Show. It is an integral part of our community and it takes many people in our community to organize it and make it happen. There are lots of ways you can help. One is by buying a raffle ticket and supporting it with needed funding. Another is by joining the Jamboree Committee and volunteering to help make some of the events more successful. There are lots of jobs that need doing and lots of opportunities to volunteer.