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EH club won't run food tent at fair

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GREENFIELD — After a nearly 20-year run, the Eastern Hancock Athletic Boosters will not be serving their acclaimed chicken noodle dinner at the 2014 Hancock County 4-H Fair.

In fact, they won’t be under the fair’s large food tent at all, opting to direct efforts toward other fundraising activities, booster club members say.

Finding volunteers to oversee and manage the club’s food concession – the biggest at the county fair – became too cumbersome for the club to maintain over the course of the week-long event.

“Manpower was the biggest issue,” said club president Greg Hall. “We had plenty of people who would show up to work, but there were three or four that had to be there constantly to manage it.”

“It just got harder and harder to get parents to come and work,” said Doug Addison, a member of the Hancock County Ag Association board who is in charge of food booths. “I managed the (EH) food tent when my kids were involved 12 years ago, and it was hard to find volunteers then. Now it’s just gotten worse.”

The EH enterprise, which was a cooperative effort of several school organizations including the choir, band and cheerleading units, would usually make around $15,000 selling food during the week, but organizers say recently added activities to the fundraising roster can bring in almost as much money without a seven-day time commitment.

The boosters made approximately $10,000 on their one-day 3-on-3 basketball tournament in March, and with concession sales during the school’s recent run to the state football championship and at girls basketball sectional games, they feel they can recover fundraising lost by not selling at this year’s fair.

“We think we can use our time better and replace the revenue we made there with other activities,” Hall said.

Addison said he understood the club’s reasoning for moving on.

“You make good money, but it’s a lot of work,” he said.

With the EH pullout, the large food tent now has an equally large vacancy to fill before the fair’s June 20 opening date, and board members are actively seeking interested groups to fill the gap.

Though Addison said the board wants to hear from any business or group that would like to take the space, the board would especially like to see another school or nonprofit organization take the spot as a fundraiser.

Addison said the booster club food booth has become a fixture at the fair that will be missed.

“They’ve been there 15 years or more. It’s been a long haul,” Addison said. “We’re going to miss them.”

For more information about the open food tent space, contact Addison at (317) 448-6350 or email Shannon Swindell at sswindell@myninestar.net.

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