Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

FunFestival brings unity to the community

by Steve Targo

August 02, 2012

GENEVA — Bill Leonard took his wife, Tara Young, their dog, Geneva, Gene and Judy Decker and the Deckers’ 8-year-old niece, Somer, out on his pontoon boat Friday, July 20, for a late morning cruise on Lake Como.

It’s nowhere near as large as Delavan or Geneva lakes, but it’s not as small as, say, Pell Lake. One could actually cruise most of Lake Como at reasonable speeds in about an hour. Two reasons for that: The size of the lake and the fact that there’s not a lot of traffic on it.

“It’s the lake no one knows about,” Gene Decker said. “We’ve had four boats on the lake today, so far.“

He paused. “That’s crowded,” Decker said with a smile, followed by laughter from the rest of the passengers.

Those in the know about Lake Como, like Decker, call it an alternative to Geneva Lake, which is popular and often crowded.

Some, such as Young, feel something more profoundly. “Como is in your heart,” she said.

And yet, despite the natural beauty of this lake, people of the town of Geneva were, according to Decker, Leonard and Young, not willing to consort with each other. For example, Decker said the north shore residents used to not get along well with the south shore residents, and vice versa.

Then, five years ago, the FunFestival happened.

“We’re all involved in the same things now,” Leonard said about how the event has helped the community. “Years past, people used to only stay on their sides of the lake.”

He said through this event, people are becoming friends no matter what part of the town they’re from. Take these three, who continue to serve as event organizers. Leonard and Young live on the south shore, the Deckers on the north.

This Saturday marks the fifth annual town of Geneva FunFestival, which will offer the same schedule of events it has previously — the children’s games, talent show, fireworks.

What’s the FunFestival done for the town? Decker, also a town supervisor, said the event has raised more than $50,000 in the last four years.

Event proceeds go toward three areas — 25 percent for town parks, 25 percent to town police and EMS services, 50 percent toward improving the lake.

But all three FunFestival organizers agree the event has brought unity into their community.


Saturday’s FunFestival begins at noon. Picnic-style food will be served throughout the day, and children’s games will be from noon to 4 p.m. There also will be a beer garden tent at the event site.

One of the main draws of FunFestival is Como’s Got Talent, which begins at 4 p.m.

“We have quite a range of talent this year,” Young said. “It’s going to be difficult to judge.”

Among the contestants, according to Young, are two rock bands, two opera singers, a violinist, a dancer and a gymnast.

If the talent show isn’t a draw for the locals, it apparently is for performers. This year, people who auditioned to star in the talent show came from Illinois to Green Bay.

Another attraction is the fireworks display, which is set to begin at 9:30 p.m.

There also will be live music. The band Triple D plays from noon to 4 p.m. The Underdogs play from 7 to 9:30 p.m., then after the fireworks until 11 p.m.

There will be raffles throughout the day, including a split-the-pot $5,000 prize.

Decker said this year, there are more raffle prizes, such as a weekend hotel stay package at The Abbey, Fontana; an iPad; a set of golf clubs; and a “booze barrel.”

Another mainstay of FunFestival appears to have become unintentional fun — the shuttle boat rides.

“We have a hard time getting people off the shuttle boats,” Decker said. “They just want to ride on the lake.”

Leonard said there are five shuttle boats this year, so people can catch a ride from Mars Resort, Wakefield’s (formerly the French Country Inn) and the Geneva Ridge Resort to the event.