At their regular city council meeting on Monday, April 12, the Wahkon council once again discussed how they would approach funding for their Wahkon Days celebration, after their 2019 audit raised issues with funding the event through the City rather than a local nonprofit. Present at the night’s meeting was Ashly Hughes, event coordinator with A Turn of Events DBA Go Savvy Social, based in Princeton, who has previously helped the City coordinate their Wahkon Days celebration. Hughes indicated she was willing to help coordinate this year’s Wahkon Days, keeping the event on its feet until the City can find a local non-profit to help manage it in the future.
Hughes has coordinated the craft and vendor fair at Wahkon Days for the past 10 years, city clerk Karrie Roeschlien explained in conversation with the Messenger after the meeting. This year, Hughes had called in to see if Wahkon Days would be happening. With the City’s situation explained, Hughes offered to step in and help with the coordination of the event this year.
“We’d need to have a lot more conversations on what pieces of this event [Wahkon] can run with your volunteers,” Hughes said. A Turn of Events would work to help run the event through the community as functionally as possible. By keeping the various pieces of Wahkon Days run sponsored by other organizations in the community, it would allow for A Turn of Events to easily transfer the process over to a new non-profit later.
Mayor Ronda Bjornson observed that the City still needed a non-profit to run the event, to keep funding options like the raffle and button drawings viable. Hughes added that her organization wanted that for the City as well. “In my experience with events,” Hughes said, “if you let it die one year, it’s gone, and it’s hard to get back.” She did not see A Turn of Events fulfilling this role year after year, but she did want there to be an event next year.
Roeschlein said the City would have to look at what portions of Wahkon Days it was able to get sponsored this year, and the event could end up being as small as a street dance alongside the vendors. “I don’t see how anyone can take this event from Wednesday through Sunday,” Roeschlein said, “as we have done.”
Some further conversation occurred amongst the Council about coordinating the various parts of the celebration. Hughes suggested checking in with local snowmobile clubs, and the Council discussed having councilor Brenda Buck check in with the Drift Skippers for their support, which she’d be able to do.
“However I can hold your hand through this,” Hughes said. “I just can’t see community events die. It’s gonna start happening. Especially with the year off, I was surprised to get the email from Karrie about the event this year.”
“One way, shape or form, We’ll have it,” Bjornson said. And Roeschlien replied, “That depends on what it (Wahkon Days) is.”