The Zionsville Lions Club canceled all Fall Festival events at Lions Park Sept. 7, 8 and 9 because of rain and chance of flooding.
Tim Reinhart, Fall Festival chairman and Lions Club member, said the Lions Club is not aware of a previous time when an entire weekend of Fall Festival park events were canceled due to weather.
“I think a lot of the public (was) disappointed since (Fall Festival) is recognized as one of the most fun events in our community,” Reinhart said.
The midway company, Poor Jack Amusements, decided at 6 p.m. Sept. 7 to cancel the carnival rides and games. By 7:15 a.m. Sept. 8, many of the rides were disassembled and loaded on trucks.
“They worked all night to get out of the park because we were fearful of an overnight flood,” Reinhart said. “Eagle Creek rose 4.5 feet (Friday) night. When it (rises) 10 feet total, flooding (can occur).”
The show must go on
When the rain showed no sign of relenting, American Legion Post 79 hosted the Lions Lounge and Fall Festival Silent Auction on Sept. 8 for persons 21 and older.
The Impalas played from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Other entertainment included trivia and raffles. Sun King beer and a selection of wine was available at the lounge as well as a full bar and food provided by the Legion.
“We were happy with the turnout,” Reinhart said. “Having the auction on-site helped that along as well. The auction did pretty well, all things considered. A lot of it was online but having it physically there at the lounge event was helpful.”
Reinhart estimated nearly 200 people attended.
“The American Legion was really busy throughout the night,” Reinhart said. “We had a good crowd for the amount of space we had in the Legion. The Impalas rocked like they always do.”
Lions Club rescheduled the Fall Festival Car Show for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 16 in the park. The Miss Fall Festival’s Outstanding Teen Pageant takes place Sept. 16 at 3 p.m.
Counting their losses
The Lions Club has not calculated the total financial impact of closing park events, but Reinhart estimated a 75 – 80 percent profit loss.
“We’re guessing we’re going to be somewhere around $54,000 short of our projections based on the last 4 to 5 years,” Reinhart said.
According to the Reinhart, extreme weather greatly impacted 2018 fundraising events.
“Our second-biggest fundraiser, Fourth of July, was 90-some degrees and food sales were low,” he said.
The profit losses cut into operating expenses for maintaining Lions Park, including general maintenance, electricity and utilities, lawn care and landscaping costs, upkeep of the clubhouse, shelter, gazebo, restrooms and more.
“The community is very generous. Someone stuck a check in our door at the clubhouse,” Reinhart said.
Lions Club plans to continue next year’s events in full force and plan additional community events.
“(Lions Park) is a central place in our community. It’s neat to be a part of something that affects so many people’s lives and brings so much enjoyment,” Reinhart said. “This (loss) is not going to dissuade us from doing what we’ve been doing for so long.”