Two reasons to hang in towns of Linn, Geneva this weekend
August 04, 2010 | 09:05 AM
Some people may not know it, but there's a special link between the town of Geneva's FunFestival and the Linn Town Fire and EMS Department's annual Pig and Corn Roast.
"I went to the town of Linn and saw what they do at their annual pig roast," said Margaret Downing, town of Geneva administrator and FunFestival creator/organizer. "I thought that would be something good for the town of Geneva to do."
On Saturday, Aug. 7, the town of Geneva FunFestival turns 3 years old.
But on Sunday, Aug. 8, the Linn Pig and Corn Roast turns 40.
How do you keep an event fresh after almost 40 years? Dan Pitt, of the Linn Fire and EMS Department, said the big change for this year's Pig and Corn Roast is a singing contest.
Auditions for the contest began Wednesday.
"The idea is, starting on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., each day until the Pig Roast, I need people to sign up," Pitt said Monday. "But already, this thing is really taking on a life of its own. … I've already got 10 people performing for sure and it's not even Wednesday yet."
He said one woman actually chased him down the street while he was out selling tickets for the event.
"After she heard about (the contest), she had two people she wanted to sign up," Pitt said.
He said other well-known event activities will continue this year, including the contest for the child who has the most past and present Fire and EMS Department members sign his or her T-shirt; the Kiddie Karnival; and, of course, the pig.
"We have 22 pigs and 5,000 ears of corn," Pitt said. "That's a must.
We also ordered 235 dozen hamburger buns and 35 dozen buns for hot dogs or brats."
However, according to Pitt, details for several aspects of the Pig and Corn Roast still are being finalized. He's still looking for a third judge for the singing contest. Whether that judge needs the pedigree of the other two — a Julliard graduate and a college music teacher — remains to be seen.
In any case, the judges will help decide who walks away with a check for $250.
From roast to FunFestival
It's a case of an old tradition inspiring a new one — and possibly vice versa. Last year, FunFestival organizers started Como's Got Talent, which was patterned after the television show "America's Got Talent."
"Some of the (contestants) come into the Town Hall," Downing said. "We say, 'You have to give us a little preview,' and they burst into song.
With some of them, I'm like, wow. I'm impressed."
But whatever's happening at the FunFestival must be working. Downing said the level of success from last year's event gave organizers the idea to extend the hours for this year.
One area in which organizers learn how many people attend each FunFestival is through the shuttle boats.
Starting at 2 p.m., the shuttle boats take a route leading to Kirsch's, Duffy's, In The Drink, Freddie's West End, the North Pier Boat Launch and Mars Resort. Downing said the shuttles arrive every 30 to 45 minutes. So far, seven people have agreed to drive boats during the event.
"On the boats themselves last year, we had over 770 people throughout the night," Downing said.
She said she knows that because boat drivers had to keep a tally so as not to exceed capacity limits. Although the shuttles allow people to party safely, there is no smoking or drinking on the boats in between destinations. The Geneva Town Police Department also will have its boat patrolling during the event.
Something new for this year's FunFestival is a barge on Lake Como from which fireworks will be launched. Downing said local business people are sponsoring it.
"The fireworks will be shot (from the barge) about 500 feet from the shore off the barge," she said.
For this year's FunFestival, Downing said there has been more of a focus to provide child-friendly fun, such as games involving water balloons, face painting and a dunk tank.
Family fun has been one of the driving factors behind the event, Downing said.
Town pride is another.
"We're really committed to our town and making it the best town we can," she said.
The planning for each year's FunFestival begins each January.
"By January, you've got to start planning your theme, applying for licenses, getting the advertising going, talking to sponsors, picking your bands … making sure you've got people who are committed."
It's not easy.
"Sometimes, I'm overwhelmed by the amount of work it takes," Downing said. "Even though we have such a large committee to organize it, some of it falls on the shoulders of the chairperson. But now, adding new committee people this year, they are helping shoulder that workload."