Volunteerism keeps festival growing

By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

Register/Richard luken
Clockwise from lower left, Crest High School FFA members, from left, Justin Pate, adviser Jon Pretz, Trevor Holman, Britany Maloy and Melissa Honn put the finishing touches on a float they will enter in Saturday’s Colony Day parade.
Marla Bain

COLONY — It was a brief conversation nearly five years ago, but it’s one that’s stuck with Marla Bain.
Bain, 26, had just agreed to chair the Colony Day Committee and — as she’s fond of doing — struck up a conversation about the fall festival with folks about town.
One young gentleman noted that he likely would not attend, however, “because it was boring,” Bain recalled.
The comment struck a chord.
Bain resolved then to bring in more activities, particularly ones that appealed to young adults.
That was the first year Colony Day featured its daylong volleyball tournament.
A classic auto show was introduced the next year, as was a barbecue smoke-off.
Both events have grown in popularity and, as Bain hoped, brought more folks to the celebration.
“I had one guy after last year’s volleyball tournament tell me that it was the most fun he’d ever had at an event like that,” Bain said. “All it takes is one comment like that to really brighten your day.”
Bain is always eager to find activities that appeal to her generation. Even more importantly, the Colony native thinks the event does wonders each fall for community pride.
She recalled working for seven years at Colony Diner, starting as a teenager, where she got to know most everybody in town.
“I loved working there because it helped me get involved with the community,” she said. “It’s the reason I wanted to stay in Colony.”
Bain is a graduate of Allen County Community College and Pittsburg State University. She works part-time at Advantage Computers in Iola.

SATURDAY’S Colony Day features the recent events plus the old standbys, including a morning fun walk, parade, benefit raffle, ice cream social and talent show.
And in keeping with her promise to add something new each year, Saturday’s festival features the inaugural Colony Day Pie Baking Contest at 10 a.m.
The contest was the brainchild of Kathy Holloway, Bain noted, “who comes from a family that was born to bake pies. She’s a baker. Her mother’s a baker. Her aunt’s a baker.” Holloway’s mother-in-law, Mary Jane Holloway, oversees a similar contest each September for the Kincaid Free Fair. Both have agreed to handle the Colony Day contest.
Such volunteerism is commonplace, Bain noted, and helps make each year’s festival a pleasure for attendees and organizers alike.
For example, a phone call to Jeanie Ray, owner of Colony Food and Sundries and an automotive enthusiast, helped get the car show off the ground three years ago.
Kristi Bubna is handling Saturday evening’s talent show. Denise King coordinates the morning fun walk.
“I had no idea what went into this,” said Bain, who had not even attended a Colony Day celebration until agreeing to line up the parade for Colony Day five years ago.
By the next year, she was chairing the Colony Day Committee, a small group of dedicated volunteers who handle all of the logistics.
The committee members, Charlene Tinsley, Dottie Hartman, Angie Black, Steve Jeneal and Cody Bain, began meeting in January to put the pieces of this year’s festival in place. The meetings grew more frequent as finishing touches were put on each event.
The coordination will continue through Saturday to ensure each activity has plenty of volunteers and runs smoothly.
The Colony Day Committee members are unsung heroes, Bain declared.
“They’ll pretty much help with everything,” Bain said. “I feel very good about this year’s celebration. It looks like everything is taken care of, and we’re set to have fun. Now all we have to do is hope the weather holds out.”