Kick Off Speech

Welcome to the 2010 Troy Strawberry Festival!

I am excited to be the Chairman for this year’s festival.  I’m also humbled. I have worked in a variety of volunteer roles through the years, but nothing compares to this. Our community is incredibly fortunate to have this kind of event. All of us benefit – some directly and many more indirectly. By design, our local clubs and organizations directly benefit. The communities they serve benefit indirectly – and that’s all of us.

The festival’s founders had no inkling of course that their small seed would flourish and grow in to the large event we have today. This year’s theme reflects the belief that volunteers can make a meaningful difference in the world. I know from personal observation they have made a difference in Troy. Our guest speakers and many others continue to positively affect hundreds and even thousands of people in the community.

In fact, the festival volunteer’s efforts are greatly leveraged. If you count the benefits against the costs, the community’s returns are exponential. We have 50 plus chairman directing committees in size from 2 to 30. That relatively small number of people hosts one of the largest, most successful events in Ohio. It’s very, very gratifying to have the chance to work with all of them.

But like any other large endeavor, it takes organization and capital to make it happen. It really matters that our local businesses support the festival. And what’s really gratifying is that in some cases companies sponsor events even when the direct benefit is very hard to measure. There are sponsors who support the festival because they want to be part of the community, because supporting the community matters to them and they view it as both an obligation and an opportunity in the same way that you or I would. You’ll hear us say it in many settings and in many ways – but our sponsors are vital to our success. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all of the businesses that choose to support the festival.

Finally, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of the chamber staff. Having a full time manager like Sabra is what distinguishes our festival from many others that have flourished – and then faded. She and the other chamber staff provide continuity from year to year and ensure our event continues to succeed.

I’m hopeful we will break with tradition and have back to back good weather years. Regardless, I believe we have a great festival in store for everyone. We are bringing back the Fireman’s Water Ball event. The Water Ball, the Jumpies and the volleyball tournament will all be on the flood plain together and we really believe the crowd will spread towards the river and improve the experience for all of our guests. Please remember that we have several pre-festival events to support including the soccer invitational, bowling tournament, Queen’s pageant, Strawberry Idol, and Bike Time Trials.

I hope to see you at all of these events as well as at the festival. Thank you all very much.