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Think about volunteering before you complain

We just finished up with a very well-attended 45th annual Buggy Days. Unfortunately, there was a huge snafu with the parade that overshadowed what was an otherwise great weekend. Of course, there were other glitches. There always are with events so large. It was extremely hot and emergency personnel were busy dealing with dehydration and other heat-related medical issues. The Friday night concert conflicted with LCHS homecoming. It would seem just a little pre-planning can avoid that in the future. Still there was a nice crowd at homecoming and, from all accounts, the downtown concert featuring The Swingin’ Medallions drew the largest crowd for any event ever held at that venue. Another issue was a lack of buggies. There was not even a carriage for grand marshals Mike and Lynda Brutz and their grandchildren who were relegated to riding in a golf cart. The issue is not the buggies and carriages themselves. There are sources for those. The problem was horses and mules trained to pull them. Maybe it’s just me but I love to see the buggies in the parade. They belong there. That is what we are celebrating – our community’s history as the Buggy Capital of the South. We also apparently have a dearth of convertibles as many of the pageant winners rode atop Jeeps or in the backs of trucks. Some did not ride at all. As for the parade, there has been – and likely will continue to be – finger-pointing over the decision to abort the procession early and turn it off Thomaston Street onto Houston Street instead of continuing on to Stafford Avenue as has been done for years. Hundreds of people, many of them children and family who return annually to see the parade, were left in the lurch. Many of them had friends and family in the parade they did not get the opportunity to see. I still don’t understand exactly what happened at the parade. But I do understand the anger and disappointment of those who were impacted by the sudden change. Traffic and other issues have been dealt with for 44 years. I am not sure why they suddenly overwhelmed the ample law enforcement contingent this time around. But, they did. It is regrettable and, sadly, the damage cannot be undone. It is time to move on. Most disappointing was the bitter outrage expressed on social media in the aftermath. It was brutal and largely uncalled for – particularly the personal attacks on individual police officers, volunteers and others. Note that key word: volunteer. Buggy Days is – and has been since its inception – largely run by volunteers. Buggy Days and BBQ & Blues are huge undertakings that cannot be pulled off without armies of volunteers. I wonder how many of them have now hung up their hats for good after the way they were berated. If you see problems, why not seek solutions? Why not act boldly and volunteer to help next time around? Several needs are apparent. You can spend your time reaching out to car clubs and other groups for parade convertibles. You can seek out horses trained to pull buggies and carriages. You can volunteer to serve as a marshal along the parade route to solve issues like the one that disappointed so many this year. Rest assured, the organizers of these great community events will welcome you with open arms! Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald-Gazette and Pike County Journal Reporter

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