Two weeks ago in this space, Negaunee's Pioneer Days was the topic, as I wrote about the fun my classmates and I all had celebrating the Class of 1976 reunion (thanks, Jean Mitchell)?as well as the joy I experienced during a visit from my niece and her family.
An email received about that column really got me to thinking. Like many other people, I sometimes take events like Pioneer Days for granted. After all, annually since 1979, a host of fun activiites have gone on in my hometown and I have very much enjoyed them. However, as the email pointed out, those events don't just happen. A lot of planning goes into Pioneer Days and a lot of time and expense is involved.
It's a small group of people who pull a large load of work to make these things happen. And that's not just true in Negaunee. Really, any of you reading this who have enjoyed Fourth of July fireworks, street dances or band-in-the-park performances in your communities should pause for a moment to consider what goes into making those things happen year after year.
Too often, pleas are made by community event organizers for help to "save" these fun activities. That shouldn't have to happen but when it does, I am flabbergasted when anonymous responses on local websites are angry the pleas, are being made at all.
What would summer be without Ishpeming's Fourth of July celebration or Marquette's International Food Fest or Gwinn's Fun Daze? How about Scandinavian Midsummer Fest and Seafood Fest? Or Champion's Horse Pull?
The list could go on for a long time. Because even though we take it for granted, we have tons of fun choices every summer - heck, year round - in the Upper Peninsula.
Dedicated volunteers make these activities possible, people who donate time and energy into the logistics of putting together community celebrations. That these celebrations go so smoothly each year is a testament to how much effort is devoted to the preparation.
If each one of us who enjoys a particular celebration would show some support, either by helping in the planning or by making a monetary contribution, the load would be lighter for everyone.
Pioneer Days, as I said, started in 1979 as a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first graduating class from my alma mater, Negaunee High School. That first party was so much fun, since then, an organization called the Negaunee Irontown Association has put on Pioneer Days each July.
One of the presents I received on my 22nd birthday from my parents was a lifetime membership in Irontown. My parents wanted to show support for Pioneer Days and to this day, the laminated lifetime membership card is a reminder of their love for me and for their community.
My suggestion to each of you this year is you treat someone you love to a membership in that kind of community organization in your town. Or if that's not possible, then make a donation to support one of your favorite special events.
Please don't take our great community celebrations for granted. If we all pitch in at least a little, we can keep them going strong for years to come.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.