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What you may not know about the AOP festival

Usually this time of year, the Autumn on Parade (AOP) Committee is scrambling to tie up all the loose ends before the festival begins. This year, the festival was put to an abrupt halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the cancellation of the 2020 Autumn on Parade Festival is disappointing to many, the AOP Committee thought this gives the perfect opportunity to share many potentially unknown facts about the festival.

Everyone who attends Autumn on Parade knows what the weekend has to offer but may not know the “behind the scenes” details. As Paul Harvey would say, “The rest of the story”.

Who oversees putting the festival on each year?

Is it the City of Oregon, the Oregon Chamber of Commerce or the Oregon Park District?

The answer might surprise you! Although all three previously named organizations play a major role, Autumn on Parade is its own entity, a nonprofit voluntary organization.

The Festival was started in 1970 by an all-volunteer committee and continues to operate the same way today. The Executive Board consists of five volunteers and the General Committee currently stands with six volunteers.

In addition to, approximately 300 locals donate volunteer hours over the course of the festival weekend and that doesn’t include the large number of volunteers that help run the food court for various local nonprofits! In order to keep the festival running smoothly, it truly takes an army of people.

How does the committee raise enough money every year?

Since Autumn on Parade is free to attend, there are various pieces to the puzzle that allow the festival to generate funds. The four major areas that bring in most of the funds include the craft show, sponsors, the food court, and the Autumn on Parade 60/40 raffle.

The 185-booth craft show charges each crafter a booth rental fee of $125 or $175, per space.

Local sponsors play a big role in generating funds for the festival by generously donating large amounts of money each year.

Without sponsors, the festival could not go on. The food court vendors pay Autumn on Parade a percentage of their sales. Forty percent of the money brought in from the 60/40 raffle ticket sales goes back to the festival.

How much does the festival cost?

This varies each year. The Harvest Time Parade alone, usually costs between $16,000 and $18,000. How? The South Shore Drill Team and Jesse White Tumblers cost $6,000 combined. There are costs associated with all festival entertainment including clowns, drill teams and marching bands. The parade itself is a huge expense, but the AOP Committee strives to make it one of the best in the surrounding area by bringing in the best talent and entertainment.

Another large amount of money goes into festival facilities. This includes portable toilets, garbage disposal fees, tents, tables and chairs. Other festival costs include insurance, advertising, security, electricity, and the list goes on!

Why is Autumn on Parade so important to our community?

There are so many things that come to mind! Something that many can agree on, is the amount of people it brings to the area.

Whether it is friends, family or visitors who have never been to Oregon. The festival is a tradition for many and has been for years!

Family and friends spend the weekend with loved one and visitors fill local campgrounds, B&B’s and hotels. That brings us to the economic impact that Autumn on Parade has on local businesses and organizations like retail stores, bars/restaurants, gas stations, hotels and nearly 30 nonprofit groups!

How does the festival help impact nonprofits?

The AOP food court is different from other festivals because it features only nonprofit groups or groups that support a nonprofit group. Fifteen to be exact. Just to name a few, the OHS Band, Boy Scouts, OHS Wrestling and the Lions Club all participate in the food court.

Many of which will tell you that it is their biggest fundraiser of the year! Other groups like Habitat for Humanity receive funds for taking care of festival security for the weekend.

The OHS Cross Country team and the Village of Progress earn money from the Autumn on Parade 5k. In addition to benefiting local businesses and organizations, many skilled artisans sell their handmade goods at the craft fair and farmers market.

This not only helps their families and small businesses; it also gives festival attendees the opportunity to buy unique handmade goods! The list of ways that Autumn on Parade positively impacts our community goes on and we hope to continue the tradition for years to come.

50th Years in 2021 and How You Can Help

Next year, 2021, will mark the 50th annual Autumn on Parade Festival. The festival will be held on Oct. 2-3, 2021.

Volunteers for the AOP Committee are needed in order to keep the tradition of Autumn on Parade going forward. Many of the current AOP Committee members will be stepping down after next years’ festival.

It is imperative that new members join the committee for the upcoming 2021 festival to prepare for leadership roles after the 50th.

The large amount of planning, meetings and work that goes into the festival throughout the entire year is what makes the weekend of Autumn on Parade so successful.

It takes a lot of hands on deck and the committee would like to welcome new members to the team!

Do you want to see the festival for years to come? Would you be willing to be part of the AOP Committee?

If so, please reach out by emailing info@autumnonparade.org.

Autumn on Parade will contact you about future meetings, details and answer any questions you may have. Let’s keep the festival going for future generations!