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A ray of hope for Sunshine Days

Vendors selling undergarments, three cd booths blaring music (some of it objectionable) non-stop, not to mention a downtown bereft of activities.

That was the reality for Sunshine Days 2006.

It's a reality Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce volunteer Theresa Hancock doesn't want to see again.

"I want to put a community face, a family face back on Sunshine Days," she says.

We couldn't agree more.

She's willing to put ideas-and her time-into seeing Sunnyside take back Sunshine Days.

Hancock says that starts with removing out-of-town vendors who have nothing vested in this community, and opening the door for non-profit groups to set up booths. It also means establishing criteria for what is and is not a suitable vendor booth.

"I don't want somebody (from out of the area) to benefit at the expense of our local merchants," she says.

We agree.

Even if it means Sunshine Days goes a year or two with fewer-or no-vendors.

Any non-profits out there looking for a booth idea?

Hancock has plenty.

How about german sausages, dutch delights, teriyaki, funnel cakes, caramel apples, snow cones or face painting?

If the chamber rents St. Joseph's again for the carnival and vendors next year, Hancock is making it her mission to have some inclusion for downtown.

Her ideas include a car show, cow milking contest and a pie baking contest, for starters.

And when we say starters, we mean starters.

Other ideas, any of which Hancock says could be held in Central Park, include a harvest contest in categories such as "largest," "tallest," and "most unusual."

"We need to start planning now so people know what to grow for next year," she says of Sunshine Days 2007.

Bring in a farmer's market and have a cutest baby and/or pet contests.

How about karaoke?

"Sunnyside Idol," anyone?

These are all ideas that are percolating. Ideas that Hancock says can help breathe new life into Sunshine Days.

They're great.

Funny thing though, these were ideas she distributed to the chamber of commerce last year.

But they are ideas that are still unrealized.

Hancock said interest in local, "home grown" displays and events is gathering momentum for next year.

But interest and ideas only take you so far.

Volunteers are needed to share their time and their ideas in reinvigorating Sunshine Days.

Don't just agree that something needs to be done. Help make it happen.

One way to start is by calling Hancock at 837-5445.

"I'd love to be able to have a quarterly or monthly update," she says of progress toward a new and improved Sunshine Days. "Something to let people know how it's going and what we need."

We're listening.

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