Everywhere you looked, there they were, on the signs at the entrance, flapping in the breeze on large flags, large banners, and on thousands and thousands of cards. On August 24th, the four Fort Collins Rotary Clubs put on the third annual Fort Collins Peach Festival and a major emphasis this year was the promotion of Rotary. It was truly very difficult to miss our beloved Rotary symbol.
With phenomenal growth through the first two years, the four clubs, Fort Collins, Foothills, Breakfast, and After Work, came together to expand Rotary's presence at the festival this year. In addition to raising money for Rotary, Partners Mentoring Youth, and Project Self Sufficiency, a subcommittee was formed, headed by Fort Collins Rotary Club president, Lee Jeffrey, with the goal of showcasing Rotary.
Upon arrival at the Festival, attendees walked through a large, 12 foot high Rotary wheel (thanks Wilton Lyles). Once through, they were met by exuberant Rotarians handing out specially designed cards to be used when visiting the Rotary displays. By visiting all 3 Rotary booths, visitors were entered into hourly drawing for prizes donated by local businesses.
The three Rotary booths were dedicated to Polio Plus, Rotary youth programs, and local Rotary community service projects. Manned throughout the day, many visitors took the opportunity to learn about Rotary and many expressed interest in either attending a local Rotary meeting or learning more about what Rotary does in our community and throughout the world. Each visitor to a booth was presented with a card that provided a web link so they could get further information on the clubs and Rotary in general (http://www.fcpeachfestival.com/).
The booths were more than just “see what we are doing.” They were interactive. The Rotary Youth booth, used several RYLA and YRYLA activities, and, this in turn, brought in a lot of interest for Interact, youth exchange, and RYLA. A large crowd of young people and adults was at that booth all day long. In walking around the venue, many attendees were showing off their “purple pinkie” and expressed thanks to the volunteers who provided them with information that polio is still a feared disease, something that they were not aware of. Many also had their picture taken using the “we are this close” campaign.
The Fort Collins Peach Festival, in its third year, has its roots from the Breakfast Club’s annual peach sale for dictionaries. With the broad exposure for literacy in the community through the peach sale, the four clubs embarked on an opportunity to enhance the connection of peaches and Fort Collins Rotary. The festival starts with a 5K race with the winners in several categories receiving peach pies. A peach pancake breakfast then follows which has proved to be a big hit with many people in the community. Peach pies, peaches from Pallisade, peach jam and jellies, several peach flavored beers from 6 of the local microbrew companies, and other peach related items are available throughout the day. There is also lots of music, displays from local companies [pic of beetle] and sponsors, plenty of food, and many activities for families and children. A special thanks goes to Tanis Roeder, our event planner and member of the Rotary Club of Fort Collins!