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Stepping up to the plate

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ROCK FALLS – Recently, the Sterling-Rock Falls community learned that this year's Fiesta Days parade has been canceled.

Many things contributed to this decision. City officials and members of the police department attributed it primarily to First Avenue Bridge reconstruction. The parade begins in one town and ends in the other, swapping starting places every year.

The reconstruction project makes it impossible to safely and efficiently cross that bridge this year.

In addition, there is not enough time, given all the steps that must be taken, to pull the parade together by mid September. There weren't enough people to do so, either.

When news of the parade's cancellation was posted on Sauk Valley Media's Facebook page, we received a flurry of responses.

I was pleased to see the discussion go in a productive direction. Janna Groharing, a local business manager and community organizer, chimed in.

"Volunteerism is the core of just about all of the major community events around here," she wrote. "We don't get paid to do this."

Groharing was instrumental in starting Fourth Fridays: Where People and Arts Collide in Sterling. Since its inception, the monthly art event has been successful at bringing people and crowds in to downtown businesses. The event's success was largely due to publicity and word of mouth on what's happening. That's thanks to the hard work of Groharing and other such leaders who gave their time to events.

There are other community organizations that put on such events. Sterling Main Street is a group made up of volunteers and community leaders that promote businesses.

Groharing encouraged Sterling and Rock Falls residents to step up and do their part to ensure the success of current and future events.

Which brings us back to the cancellation of the Fiesta Parade. There weren't enough people to step up to organize the Fiesta committee in time to bring the parade to fruition. People were needed to submit a request to the city with the parade route; to organize float entries; serve as a grand marshal and as judges.

These are just some of the aspects that are required for a successful parade.

Community members won't have a Fiesta Parade this year. To ensure the success of future parades and events, things must change. People should step up and support community events they want to see succeed. That's what helps makes cities like Sterling and Rock Falls shine for years to come.

Sauk Valley Media reporter Kiran Sood covers government and happenings in Sterling and Rock Falls. She can be reached at ksood@saukvalley.com or at 800-798-4085, ext. 529.


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