Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Boy, am I waiting for next year's Sunshine Days. I feel like I missed this year's event, although I was there.
There were no street vendors. No crowds waiting to see the entertainment line-up. It was a sad "community event."
The Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce made a tough decision to pare down the Sunshine Days events. With fewer activities, the ones that were held should have been run with excellence.
I watched Saturday as several families walked from their parade vantage point to the downtown area, only to find no activities going on.
There wasn't music. There wasn't a vendor, other than a fund-raising bake sale, and people seemed to be in a state of confusion.
I can understand vendors not wanting to set up shop for one day. There is a lot of work that goes into setting up a booth, no matter what they are selling.
Many of the families reached Sixth Street, as cars went blazing through the intersection, turned around and went home.
A group of brightly dressed dancers performed on Sixth Street 45 minutes after the parade ended, but by the time they were dancing most of the people looking for entertainment had already left.
Sure, they were little girls who had just marched in the parade, but there are ways the parade could have been planned that would have given the girls enough time to make it the one block back to Centennial Square, where they could have rested before performing as soon as the parade was over. The delay in the dance performance resulted in people leaving.
The Yakima Valley Community Band, the only other entertainment scheduled to perform in Centennial Square, was very impressive, but again there were not many sitting at the picnic tables or on the park benches or the grassy area listening to the band perform. The band performed at 1 p.m., which was well after the dancers finished performing.
There are a lot of people, young and old, who have a lot of insight into what can be done to make Sunshine Days better. I agree if it doesn't change it will die, but I don't think cutting it down to one day was the way to build a better and stronger community event.
If the Chamber wanted to pare Sunshine Days down to one day, they should have packed that one day with the best Sunnyside has to offer. We've got that beautiful square that people spent thousands of dollars to build. Let's use it!
. Melissa Dekker can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org