Annual festival committee looks to new volunteers for future of event

Fulton Street Fair Committee member Nathan Real (center) supervises the Callaway Cup Derby Friday night. Real, who organized the derby race this year, is one of a number of new committee members who have taken on more active roles this year after veteran street fair organizers Melissa Siegel and Tom Harris announced they intend to retire.

Fulton Street Fair Committee member Nathan Real (center) supervises the Callaway Cup Derby Friday night. Real, who organized the derby race this year, is one of a number of new committee members who have taken on more active roles this year after veteran street fair organizers Melissa Siegel and Tom Harris announced they intend to retire. Photo by Katherine Cummins.

It takes a small army of people to pull off the Fulton Street Fair and make it a success each year.

That army has worked to recruit new members each year, and with Co-Chairs and longtime committee members Melissa Siegel and Tom Harris announcing their retirement, a number of those new faces have been stepping up and taking on more active roles this year.

“I’ve been looking forward to seeing this new committee come together and how this whole weekend turns out,” Siegel said on Thursday as she prepared for the start of the fair. “We’ve got a good new group, and I know it’s going to be even stronger in 2014.”

One of those new volunteers, Nathan Real, was given the task of taking over one of the street fair’s flagship events: The Callaway Cup Derby.

“(The street fair) has been a great event, and has become a great tradition in the community, and I wanted to be part of it,” said Real, a Fulton native and owner of Truescape landscaping. “I’ve had a lot of fun just working with all the businesses and committee members — especially Melissa and Tom.

“I’ve enjoyed getting to visit with everyone and make it all happen, see it all come together.”

Like Real, Kelsay Fletchall is a Fulton native and first-year committee member who wanted to take on a more active role in her hometown.

“I grew up in Fulton and left for Florida four years ago. When I came back, I knew I wanted to be involved,” Fletchall said. “I thought the fair would be a great way to be active.”

Fletchall, who has taken on the secretarial role and also has helped with everything from manning the information booth to painting the grid for the Mule Drop Bingo fundraiser, said she has enjoyed meeting new people within the community and making new friends.

Danielle Campbell, who has been taking over the role of treasurer, gave similar reasons for her involvement.

“My husband brought me to Callaway County, and we’ll be here a long, long time, so I thought I’d do something to get involved,” Campbell said. “I’ve enjoyed making new friends, and it’s a lot of fun.”

Mackenzie Huber, who has been responsible for the Kids’ Mile and the 5k, echoed Campbell’s desire to be more active in her new home.

“I’m officially a Callawegian now, it’s going to be my home, so I wanted to get involved,” Huber said. “I’ve met a lot of new people, and we’ve had a lot of fun.”

Derek Ewing, who said he was recruited by Huber and another friend, said he has been more of an “extra set of hands” available to do whatever needs done. Like the others, Ewing said he has enjoyed getting to know his fellow committee members through monthly — and, as the event nears, twice monthly — meetings, but noted it is not necessary to make that kind of time commitment to help out with the street fair.

“We do have volunteers that come out and work specific events on the day of,” Ewing said.

Fletchall advised anyone interested in getting more involved with the street fair — as a committee member or a volunteer — to visit the organization’s Facebook page and website to learn more.

“Take advantage of our social media where you can see pictures and get information and see if it would be something you’re interested in,” she said.

“If you like volunteering, this is a good group of people to volunteer with,” Huber added.

“It takes a lot of work, but when everybody chips in, it’s fun,” Real said. “I would encourage everybody to come chip in. It’s a great time.”

Harris said he was “very pleased” with the work put in by the committee’s newest members, noting Saturday morning that the 2013 Fulton Street Fair already had started on a strong note.

“They’ve all just really stepped up and done their job, just like everyone else always has,” Harris said. “I don’t know who was in charge of the weather, but they’re definitely coming back next year, they had a great crowd at the 5k this morning, the bands have been great, the crowds have been great, the Kiddie Corral is awesome.

“We’ve had a few glitches that I’m sure nobody else has noticed, but all in all, it’s been a great fair so far.”

Siegel agreed, noting that the new committee members have done well with organization and with making adjustments as the fair has gotten underway.

“The fair has been going well — we hit record numbers last night in attendance and sales and we’re on pace to have a record year,” Siegel said. “Getting all the personalities and vendors and people in place always causes some kind of conflict, but they’ve been great at resolving everything that goes with that and getting everything going.”

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