Eagan Funfest lives

Volunteers needed

Children participate a Funfest parade down Rahn Road in 1976. At the time, the festival was organized by the Eagan Fire Department, which also hosted an annual carnival at the end of the parade route at Cedar Pond Park in the Cedar Grove neighborhood. (Photo submitted by the Eagan Historical Society)
Children participate a Funfest parade down Rahn Road in 1976. At the time, the festival was organized by the Eagan Fire Department, which also hosted an annual carnival at the end of the parade route at Cedar Pond Park in the Cedar Grove neighborhood. (Photo submitted by the Eagan Historical Society)

The dates are set for next year’s Eagan Funfest, but they weren’t set in stone until recently.

There was a real possibility the 51st annual Fourth of July party was going to be shut down due to dwindling volunteers and exiting board members.

It was close enough that the Funfest board started selling off property it uses for the parade, said Susan Ryan, Funfest board member.

“There have been a lot of festivals that have gone on the wayside because of funding, but that’s not our problem,” Ryan said. “We have great sponsors and the city has been very supportive.”

Even though organizers were getting burned out, the board voted not to disband in September.

The problem was finding new people to volunteer their time. Five Funfest board members decided to leave last summer and two others were moving, leaving just three board members.

That’s not enough resources to do the job.

“Something had to give,” Ryan said.

A group of local business owners and government leaders rallied together to find six new people for the board, and they had their first meeting last week under new leadership.

“There’s a lot of excitement, but we just need to find more people” Ryan said.

Their search for help isn’t over. They still need people to volunteer for the committee to handle communications, secretary duties, coordinate volunteers, act as liaison to vendors, write grants, promote the event, work with sponsors, manage logistics, and help with the grand marshals during the parade.

“There’s a lot of little things people could do,” Ryan said. “We need people to do the little bits and pieces like work the info tent and other volunteers the day of the Funfest.”

The committee meets at 6:30 p.m. the first Thursday of every month at the Eagan Community Center.

“The environment of the committee meeting is super positive now,” Ryan said.
It’s how Ryan got her start seven years ago.

“The board sent out letters to the big employers in town that they could use some people for the committee,” Ryan said. “I had gone to the parade and fireworks every year and I was looking for a way to give back.”

The party begins at 4 p.m. July 3, 2017, when the festival grounds open up.

The parade is scheduled for 10 a.m. July 4, 2017, with fireworks at 10 p.m.

The ambassador reception and coronations are scheduled for 6 p.m. July 10.

The annual Fourth of July festival often attracts 20,000 people.

The organization is also partnering with two organizations to help with vendors and entertainment, which should improve upon the past, Ryan said.

For more information or to volunteer, visit eaganfunfest.org or email [email protected]