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The good, bad and ugly in a community

August 24, 2011 | 07:32 AM
For many visitors to Lake Geneva's annual Venetian Festival, the first thought that comes to mind is having fun.

We go on carnival rides, play games, listen to music, catch up with people, spend time with family and friends and definitely hit the food tents.

While all of that is fun, I think the best parts of Venetian Festival are the food and beer tents run by the local charity organizations.

On Sunday night, there were people everywhere. Those who hadn't yet taken their seat along the lakefront to watch the fireworks were chowing down on teriyaki from the American Legion, munching on some corn from the Lake Geneva Lions, grabbing a fruit cup from Side by Side or some roasted pecans from the Geneva Lake Womens Association.

That's just a sample of the local fundraising organizations who had tents at Venetian. Don't forget the Jaycees who lead the festival and run the beer and entertainment tent.

It's all of us who spend our money and those who volunteer to run the tents who make Venetian and these organizations a success each year.

The tourist who enjoys our annual festival may not notice all the good that comes from the event, but every year, I do.

Without raising their money at Venetian, these groups like the Lions, Jaycees or Geneva Lake Womens Associations couldn't help the people they do throughout the year. That's why those people are the truly good in this community. And everyone who buys an ear of corn, a funnel cake, a walking taco, brat or beer, you are all donating to improve our community. You may not know exactly where your money goes, but I guarantee it goes to a good cause and is appreciated. That makes you part of the good as well.

It was great to once again see some of the same faces selling the same stuff. After all, it is tradition and a good one at that.

But, at the same time these groups are trying to do good for the community, there are others who are hindering the positives of our community.

On Monday, I was told all the Saturday earnings from the Side by Side tent were stolen out of a car while parked in the back at Simple Restaurant.

Those working the tent for Side by Side had returned to the restaurant, where all the food and other items came from and they were unloading the food back into the restaurant. The vehicle door was left unlocked and during about 20 minutes in which the car was left unattended, someone grabbed the cash box, which had about $800 in it.

What a sad situation to realize that in such a short amount of time, a full day's worth of volunteer work would be taken like that. These are people who are trying to help those in need financially and this money being taken likely means a couple families will not be helped in the coming months.

This theft is truly the type of bad that can happen in a community. The person or persons who stole the money may think they took it from people who have more than they do, but actually, they may have taken it from people who have as little or less than they do.

Just when I thought that there's more bad than good, I was told employees at Simple who heard of the theft the next day contributed a total of $100 of their own money, which will now go to Side by Side.

Of course, that $100 doesn't make up for the loss of about $800, but it reminded me that there is more good than bad and ugly in our community.

Seiser is the editor of the

Regional News.

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