Category: Mennonite Heritage Village
Published: Wednesday, 10 August 2011 09:32
Written by Barry Dyck
Mr. Ken is popular with the kids.
Problem solving under a shade tree. It doesn't get any better.
John, Thelma and Louise plowing.
It looks interesting but very dusty.
Pioneer Days, our signature festival, has come and gone for another year. Quickly we direct our attentions toward assessing the things that went well and the things that need some change. This analysis is done by staff who have a considerable amount of pride in what they do at Mennonite Heritage Village. Needless to say our assessments may not be entirely free of bias. It would be great to hear how our visitors experienced this event and any suggestions they have to improve it. We welcome your calls at 326-9661 and your emails at [email protected].
One of the highlights of this year’s festival was seeing the support and involvement or our community. MHV is a not-for-profit organization with some internal income but with a heavy dependence on grants and donations to provide funding for its operations and development. A supportive community is essential to our success.
While the lions share of Pioneer Days activities take place at MHV, the community comes on board with a variety of supporting events. The Steinbach Chamber of Commerce plans and delivers a Pioneer Days parade on our opening day. This creates significant publicity and momentum for our festival. There is always a surge of visitors entering the gates immediately on completion of the parade.
Some local businesses take advantage of the fact that there is a festival in the city and build promotions around it. A number of grocery stores ran Pioneer Days promotions this year. Clearspring Centre ran significant publicity around their own Pioneer Days activities and promotions. The more the community rallies around such an event, the more benefit the community will experience.
Volunteers are another significant contribution from the community. Approximately 500 people, some from as far away as Winnipeg, spent some time volunteering at our festival. They cooked, drove horses, collected tickets, helped people find parking places, told stories, guided tours, tended our flower beds and the list goes on. If we had to hire 500 people to work a 3 hour shift and if we paid them $10 per hour for their work we would have to spend $15,000 on labour.
Every year we give local businesses the opportunity to sponsor our summer festivals. In exchange for sponsorship we publicly recognize their contributions to these events. Sponsorship is another way in which our community gets behind us and helps us tell the stories we are here to tell.