2009-07-16 / Local & State

66th Wells Tannery Homecoming Cancelled

Lack of volunteerism, busy schedules calls off annual event
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Those looking forward to the fun, food and small-town fellowship associated with the Wells Tannery Homecoming later this month will have to find another means of reminiscing with family and friends.

Dwindling volunteerism combined with the hustle and bustle of everyday life proved to be too much of an obstacle to overcome for organizers, who recently announced the annual event set for Saturday, July 25, has been cancelled. The homecoming typically boasts a parade, open mic sessions, special music, food and a horseshoe tourney. This year's event would have marked the 66th annual gathering held in northern Fulton County.

Having logged nearly 15 years with the Wells Tannery Community Park Association, President Mike Purnell possibly summed up things best when he said, "We're burnt out." Purnell told the "News" he as well as the other association board members all have jobs that are "quite demanding."

In addition, the event's planning meetings have been "not well attended." In fact, Purnell pointed out the group's last meeting in June had only three board members in attendance. Those serving alongside Purnell on the board are Vice President Bob Johnson, Secretary/Treasurer Kristen Earley and members Glenn "Pete" Ford and Byron Helsel.

Helsel stated he was not in attendance when the decision was made to cancel the homecoming. The 57-year-old Wells Tannery resident mentioned, however, he had never missed a homecoming and was sorely disappointed at the decision to cancel the event. He hopes to garner more support from the community for the 2010 homecoming.

Purnell said the association's decision to cancel Saturday's homecoming was finalized when it received notification the Eastern Star organization would be unable to serve food throughout the day in the community building. The group has been instrumental in helping the association with food service in recent years, while the food itself is prepared and donated by volunteers throughout the community.

"We have depended on donations of many types to keep the park going. Without the homecoming, we are dependent on cash donations, reunions, auctions and other events held at the park," said Purnell, who added the homecoming nets between $1,000 and $2,000 yearly. That same profit has been on a steady downslide over the past two decades and is used exclusively by the association for various park maintenance and improvement projects.

It is believed the homecoming has been offered without interruption for the last 65 years, and event organizers hope to kickstart the 2010 event with some renewed enthusiasm and possibly a new volunteer base.

"We certainly want to see the homecoming continue in some form," concluded Purnell. "Perhaps it could be a chicken barbeque with music, ice cream and prepared food from home. It seems likely that we will revisit the issue regarding the scale or size of the event and try something that will minimize the need for extra help."

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