Ken Ward, the president of the Deercreek Dam Days Board, oversees the different groups involved in pulling off the festival that has become an important piece of the Williamsport community. As the president, Ken tries to divide responsibility evenly among his fellow volunteers so that no one is overwhelmed by the amount of work that goes into the Dam Days Festival each year. On their staff of volunteers, they have their own vendor coordinator and royalty coordinators, as well as people who are unofficially the parade committee.
As a result of some hospital stays in the days leading up to the start of the festival in previous years, Ken has been more limited than he has been in the past. His daughter, Sarah, who is the current vice president, has been a huge help in pulling the festival together, as well and Trish Pettit, who was previously president of the board and who now runs the Beer Garden and the Fish Fry for the festival.
The current group that now makes up the Deercreek Dam Days Board got together after the year in which they had no festival. Because of some mismanagement of the previous committee, they started off quite in debt and lost their membership with the Ohio Festival and Events Associant (OFEA), which they are trying to reobtain. In order to requalify for the OFEA membership, they had to have a five year respite. According to Ken, this has really hurt the royalty program and the vendor availability. This year marks the end of the five year break with the OFEA, and they will decide whether or not to present the Dam Days Board with membership at the end of this fall.
In getting started as a Dam Days volunteer, Ken’s wife and daughter were actually involved before he was. Through their volunteering, Ken saw a need and began assisting with the festival as well. Their main goal over the past few years has been to expand the festival and make wiser decisions each and every year. The biggest event for the festival is the Kid’s Fest, which takes place on Saturday. They spend a lot of money bringing in the Ohio Reptile Group, as well as providing face painting, and a bicycle rodeo (hosted by the Boy Scouts). The Boy Scouts also keep the park clean every night, and the Dam Days Board uses a portion of their profits to donate back to the Boy Scouts for their services.
Now at an all time high, Ken says that “The festival is a time when most of the community can, at least, meet in one spot and not argue.” It’s has become a kind of rallying point that brings a small community together in unity, even if only for a few days. Don’t miss out the last day of the 2018 Deercreek Dam Days and come out to experience this amazing sense of community for yourselves!