Confehr: Lions Club experience still rings true today

Friday, February 18, 2011

So much time has passed that the details are fuzzy, although the big picture still rings true.

For as long as anybody could remember, Cowan Lions were the driving force behind the Christmas Parade there, but members realized they were getting old.

Worse, there weren't as many volunteers. Some moved away. Some were gone forever. The group that's at the heart of any organization was grumpy. Help was needed.

One of the original geezers may have had a headache or a pain in the back when he spoke up. "If we don't get any more help, I'm going to quit."

The geezer had been king so often that tail twisters wouldn't touch him, although he usually started weekly donations with his dollar, daring others to do better.

"The Ex-king is right," a blooming geezer said. "Other service clubs are in the same pickle. We all need help."

That was back when the "Ettes" and the "Annies" merged with the men's groups. Auxiliaries were as big as the expeditionary force.

Having a co-ed club wasn't bad, but letting the Cowan Christmas Parade fade away seemed sacrilegious. Big ol' Lions roared. Pretty soon, folks offered new ideas that were added to the parade.

And even though it was coming a rain that day, a really big crowd came out to Main Street before the parade began. Remarkably, there was confusion on when the parade was to start, or whether that was the time to assemble.

In the end, everybody waved at Santa. Throughout the parade, they adored the child and their children on display with big band music and a lot of fun things.

There's another chain of events.

In the 1960s, coffee houses were held at churches for those in high school and early college. They got crowded. One solution was to create more coffee houses. Crowds got bigger. Another solution was to have a bum show one weekend to shrink the crowd to a more manageable size.

Too much success is an unusual problem. It beats the alternatives.

So, here in Lewisburg, the call has gone out. The folks working behind the scenes for the Goats Music and More Festival need help. It's more than a mid-day parade. It's much more than a Friday night coffee house where garage bands get a real stage.

Goat Fest springs from the roots of Marshal County. It's part of the local agricultural economy. And while it's true that the music has been an attraction for other people from far and wide, the goats make the festival more than a craft fair or a carnival.

Very serious festival meetings are usually held in January, although there was an organizational session within weeks of last year's festival. Now, venders are calling City Hall for dates and contracts. Bands are booked early.

We're told that without a budget, funds can't be promised by councilmen. Sounds plausible. Meanwhile, there's an election this spring.

So the question is asked: Will Goat Fest become a city election campaign issue?

These views are the author's and not necessarily reflective of the Tribune's views.