Rochester Area Heritage Festival looking to a Dynamic Future

The Rochester Area Heritage Festival has elected new officers and is making plans for the future.
Rather than holding a large, two-day festival this year, the focus in 2011 will be on long-range sustainability. This year the Board of Directors is focusing on restructuring the festival and considering ways of assisting other nonprofit community groups focus on local history.
The officers elected are: Chairman Steve Wolken, Vice Chair Lorraine McGoldrick, Secretary Andrea Rozman and Treasurer David Howarth. A new event coordinator, Alexis Johnson, has joined the nine-member Board. A volunteer coordinator is still being sought to add to the over 100 years of experience on the RAHF Board.
“The Festival Board of Directors has chosen to use 2011 as a year for reorganizing the infrastructure and redesigning the community partnerships to continue to meet and expand its ongoing mission of honoring our past, present and future,” McGoldrick said. “Festival volunteers will participate in community activities, especially those which emphasize history, preservation of historical resources and involve nonprofit organizations.”
“Based on the struggling economy, we felt a need to do something more than just a festival to help our community this year,” Rozman said. “We felt it was critical to spend the whole year working in a spirit of activism on several projects and activities rather than one festival. We will be more visible in the community this year, striving to support the historical education and preservation efforts that are happening in our area.”
The Festival’s mission is to promote the appreciation and preservation of local heritage, to create a free, family-oriented festival atmosphere and to provide unique funding opportunities for community nonprofit organizations. Planning for the 34th Festival in 2012 is already underway.
“After a short window last year when the Festival moved to a new date and location, we really do need to catch our breath and take time to plan,” Wolken said. “I think we have some new opportunities this year; so let’s take advantage of them. Let’s focus on things we haven’t had time to do.”
The Heritage Festival is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. It is entirely privately funded and has never used government funds. It is run by and staffed with volunteers. Admission, parking and a line-up of musical entertainment and cultural arts are always free.
The Festival’s collaborative model offers an opportunity for nonprofit organizations to raise money through the activities and concessions they bring to the festival. It is only through the participation and generosity of these groups that the Festival exists. The Festival Board is open to working with any nonprofit that would like to raise funds while bringing history to life for all ages.
To keep up with the developing programs for the 34th Heritage Festival and the board’s activities, visit the Web at www.rochesterheritagefest.org. To volunteer, become a sponsor, or for more information on how to participate, contact Lorraine McGoldrick at 248-601-0394.

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