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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Rotarians say event set-up is hectic, rewarding

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Battle for the checkered flag

Several drivers round the last curve of their first lap in the go-kart races Sunday at Forest Park. This was the fastest race of the day, combining three races in one in the Unlimited division. Lynn Hamilton photo

After six months of plans and preparations, the 69th annual Brazil Rotary Club Fourth of July Celebration is in full swing.

Sam Crawn, outgoing Rotary president, has been involved in the club for seven years. He said preparations for the celebration begin "the day after" the end of the previous one, when the club sits down and talks with All American Shows, the event's carnival company.

After the talks, the club winds down until January, when committees are named and planning starts anew. There are around seven committees for every celebration, each assigned to a different end of the planning.

Some handle entertainment, others not-for-profit booths, others the fish fry.

"It's a group effort," Crawn said. "If you've got a big part of the planning done before the event, things go a lot better when it starts."

Crawn's job is to basically oversee the celebration on the whole, "putting out small fires" and tending to details that were overlooked during the main planning phase. He said things have gone pretty smoothly this year, though a few challenges have presented themselves.

"Electricity at the go-kart race is always a problem," he said.

Rotary also relies on help and donations from other organizations to keep things going well. In particular, Crawn said the Brazil Park Board has done a great job helping Rotary where they can, letting them use the park and its restroom facilities, along with other help.

Crawn said part of the event's success comes from familiarity.

"We don't try to reinvent the wheel every year," he said.

As president, Crawn's term will end with the event. His successor, Sam Glover, will then take the reins of the club and the celebration.

Glover says even though there's a lot of work involved, he looks forward to being in charge next year.

"We have such good workers," he said. "And it's been going on so long that besides a few glitches that need worked out, it pretty much puts itself on. It is a long week, and it is tiring, but I'm looking forward to it."

The celebration started Saturday and will run until Sunday. Drawings for prizes take place every night, and the grand prize drawing for $10,000 will be Sunday. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at Rotary headquarters at Forest Park.

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