WinterFest successful fundraiser for many groups and causes

WAYNESFIELD — Browsing booths at the Muchinippi WinterFest on Saturday, a Lakeview man said he was there to support the community.

Kathy and Joe Leugers came to support the small village and school from where their child graduated.

Joe Leugers said as he shopped with local vendors set up for a craft show as part of the weekend long community fundraising event.

They supported the Music Boosters by eating lunch at WinterFest and planned to come back after church to support the Academic Boosters by eating supper there. They also gave money to causes as they saw fit while they were there and they had fun.

As they were supporting a variety of causes, those attending also had the opportunity to win prizes. For one raffle, names were drawn every 30 minutes, in addition to hourly and grand prizes.

Running a benefit to help a local pastor fighting cancer, Melissa Pepple said it was her first time trying to raise money for something at the WinterFest, but knew it would be successful because of the giving nature of the community.

“The community really comes together to support each other,” Pepple said.

In its third year as a revived weekend of community activities open to anyone, unusually warm March weather may have kept some from attending the event during the afternoon, but evenings were busy, even requiring extra chairs be brought out for Saturday night’s performance of  “Feudin,’ Fightin,’ and Fussin,’” by the Waynesfield-Goshen Muchinippi Community Theatre, which organizes the event.

The WinterFest is the theatre group’s only fundraiser, but it also raises money for a variety of community organizations and causes that range from the academic and music boosters, to the sophomore class, library, cross country teams, and scholarship funds.

“It went really, really well,” said Pat Noykos, who serves on the organizing committee for the event. “We were really, really pleased.”

While amounts brought in for fundraising efforts aren’t yet finalized, Noykos expected that they did well with large crowds on Friday and Saturday nights.

“Already we are making plans for next year, when the WinterFest has been scheduled for March 15 and 16,” Noykos said.

She said especially successful this year were tumbling performances, blowups and bingo, which was held for the first time.

They are already making plans to move the location of a euchre tournament next year and to see what improvements can be made to fill a slight afternoon lull, including the possibility of a fishing presentation. Plans also are being made to change the set up of the craft show.

“We will be meeting in a week to 10 days and going over what went well and what we need to work on,” Noykos said.

Lea McQuillan, who graduated from Waynesfield-Goshen High School in 2003, came back to the event to set up a Scentsy table for sales. While she hadn’t sold her items at a show like this before, it’s been a good business for her and she wanted to try it in her hometown.

Afterward, she planned on spending time enjoying the event with her family.

Jane Helton, of Fairborn, traveled out of her area to bring her scrap booking and card business, “My Mother’s Memories,” to WinterFest.

“I like branching out and all the people you meet with whom you have a common interest,” Helton said. “I’m doing something I love and enjoying it. It’s been lots of fun.”

Her business, which evolved from a scrapbook kit her mother gave her on her death bed, has been a kind of therapy for her.

“Everyone you met, wherever you go, has a different story,” Helton said. “All you hear is so much negative and it’s nice to share something positive.”