Last Thursday, Aug. 10, I invited the O’Fallon community to meet at City Hall to discuss the possibility of O’Fallon once again having a community picnic or festival. I was excited to see over 25 residents, City Clerk Jerry Mouser, and Ward 1 Alderman Ross Rosenberg in attendance.
As you know, O’Fallon was once known for its city-wide festivals, picnics, and homecomings.
During my campaign, as I walked through O’Fallon and visited over 6,000 homes, I was often asked why O’Fallon no longer hosts a city-sponsored festival. Many residents expressed to me that our neighboring communities all have one or two such events, annually. While O’Fallon is fortunate to have many organizations, churches, and groups that host annual events, the city itself does not host or sponsor one.
Therefore, I decided to host a meeting to begin the discussion of bringing back a city-sponsored event.
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At the meeting on Aug.10, we had very good input and discussion from those in attendance. We discussed several aspects of what it would take to again host a successful event in O’Fallon. All those in attendance were in favor of moving forward with plans as soon as next year, if possible.
Many of the details are yet to be decided, but the preliminary discussion steered toward a homecoming celebration on the third weekend of August. The event would likely be held at O’Fallon Community Park. There would be many activities including a car show, sports tournaments, bingo, children’s games, food stands, rides, live music, and a parade on Saturday.
Many of you may not be aware of this, but O’Fallon Community Park was originally purchased by the O’Fallon Homecoming Association and given to the city of O’Fallon in 1946 for the enjoyment of the citizens of O’Fallon. Therefore, we thought it was only right to once again host a homecoming at Community Park.
I have stated that the city will look to have some of the funds from the revenue received from the electronic gambling machines placed into next year’s budget to help with getting the event started. We would also need to have local companies, organizations, restaurants and families help sponsor various activities, put together floats, operate stands, and provide help in other ways during the homecoming event.
In addition, we discussed what to do with the proceeds. The group suggested that part of the proceeds should be saved for start-up costs for the next year’s event, and the other portion of the proceeds should be donated to a charitable organization sponsored by the O’Fallon Police Department, such as Special Olympics and/or The BackStoppers.
There are already several individuals that have agreed to volunteer their time and energy toward helping organize this event, but more are needed.
Our next meeting to discuss this event will be held at City Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 6 at 6:30 p.m. We are open to more input and will definitely need many more volunteers to step up if this event is to become a reality.
As residents of O’Fallon, you should always be able to reach out to your elected officials and ask questions about what is happening in O’Fallon. Having open communications is important to me and something I care very deeply about. Thank you for reading, and please remember, my door is always open.