Parks and Recreation Director Scott Jaquish’s face lights up when he talks about the Dan Jansen Family Fest, Greenfield’s annual Memorial Day weekend festival.
And if you look around the city, it’s easy to see why. The festival, now in its 17th year, has generated more than $650,000, almost all of which has gone to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
“The number that gets thrown out there is between 30,000 and 35,000 (attendees per year),” Jaquish said. “What type of economic impact does that have on a community? It’s a very busy place and the dollars that they’re able to generate all comes through us to help fund these projects.”
Those projects include the electronic reader board and walkways at Konkel Park, the fountain at Bicentennial Park, improvements at Dan Jansen Park and the park department’s maintenance facility.
Oh yeah, let’s not forget the donations the last two years, which included the purchase of DJ, an addition to the Greenfield Police Department’s K-9 unit, and a $150,000 donation to the city’s library-turned-community-center project that’s slated to be finished this summer.
“That signature donation really got the ball going,” Jaquish said. “That was huge to the project. The city doesn’t have that kind of money to do these kinds of projects, but they (Dan Jansen Family Fest Inc.) made them happen.”
Dan Jansen Family Fest Inc. is a non-profit organization made up by just a small group of volunteers, spearheaded by chairperson Kathleen Doonan, but the efforts of few have impacted many.
“We’re talking five, six, seven people that give of their time, not just for three days, but months over and over and over again,” Jaquish said. “How many people can you imagine have that kind of heart to set aside their whole life for a public good. That’s the ultimate volunteer.
“I can’t say enough about what that group does and what they mean to our department and the amenities that we have been able to bring to the city that we probably would not have been able to afford.”
The Parks and Recreation Department directly benefits from the proceeds of the festival, but other organizations have raised money as well, such as the Greenfield High School ROTC, the Greater Greenfield Lions Club and the Yellow Ribbon Club of Greenfield. Representatives or members of those and other organizations volunteer their time at the festival to raise money for their causes, a figure Jaquish estimated at more than $110,000.
“That’s an unknown thing,” he said. “Most people think it’s just a festival to support the parks.”
So get out and head to Konkel Park this weekend for a good time and a good cause.