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Cockadoodle Days cut short

Cockadoodle Days cut short
Cockadoodle Days cut short
Ed Heavrin of Clarksville helps his mother-in-law Mary Greer, also of Clarksville, rescue items from her booth Saturday morning in the Merchant's Building at the Harrison County Fairgrounds. Doug Edelen of Corydon is in the foreground, helping his wife, Stephany, remove Pampered Chef items. (Photo by Jackie Carpenter)

If there were any roosters at the Harrison County Fairground at daybreak Saturday, they certainly weren’t crowing. Actually, most folks think they flew the flooded coop.
Cockadoodle Days was forced to shut down when flood waters began to invade the grounds Friday night, and the rains didn’t let up for good until late Saturday.
‘We were prepared for rain, but we weren’t prepared for a flood,’ said festival co-chair Donn Blank. ‘It certainly wasn’t successful money-wise, but it was successful for the community and the future of the festival.’
That’s because two things happened, Blank said. ‘We had a wonderful committee that worked really hard; I really felt so good about what we had to give to the people of Harrison County. We learned a lot for next year.
‘And the other thing was seeing how everybody worked together during a time of crisis; everybody pitched in, and it was such a community effort,’ Blank said. ‘Everybody helped everybody.’
Committee member Evelyn McPherson echoed that sentiment. She was in charge of booth rentals, from early Friday morning when vendors began to arrive until Saturday afternoon, when a second deluge of rain fell and waters rose higher than the night before.
Booths were forced to close early Friday evening and those inside the Merchant’s Building began to shut down about 9, after water started to rise into the building.
The next day, all of the festivities were cancelled. Those included the Texas Hold ‘Em Poker game, beer garden, bingo, Old Hen Contest, the music of the Monarchs and Smokin’ Joe and the Mudflaps, Jacobi’s Chicken Wing Eating Contest, vendor booths both inside the Merchant’s Building and outside, a 5K run, yard sale and the YMCA chicken dinner.
As soon as the waters had receded enough to drive back to the buildings Saturday morning, most of the booth people waded in to pack up and remove salvageable items from the building and dump the rest.
‘Most of these people didn’t know each other prior to this, so it was amazing how they helped each other,’ McPherson said. ‘It was great to see people helping each other and not just thinking about themselves.’
When she heard Sunday that the floods had cost the lives of some eight people in Kentucky, McPherson said the events were put into perspective. ‘We didn’t lose any lives, and that’s what is important,’ she said.
The committee may give discounts to this year’s renters who return next year, but they will refund the rent to anyone who thinks they should get a refund, McPherson said.
‘I was trying to apologize to everyone, but they said, ‘Don’t worry about it. It’s something you can’t control,’ ‘ McPherson said. ‘We were trying to work around the rain, but we weren’t prepared for a flood.’
She added: ‘We hope the vendors understand we have expenses in putting on the festival,’ such as renting the fairgrounds and advertising, she said. ‘Some have said to just consider it a donation to a good cause.’
Blank said the committee had moved the concerts into the Livestock Auction Barn, which had been cleaned, a stage brought in and sawdust sprinkled onto the floor for dancing. The Marlins performed until about 10 Friday evening, and showed how well the new location worked, Blank said. ‘We made that decision Thursday to be ready for rain, and it really worked,’ Blank said.
Saturday night’s appearance by the Monarchs was, of course, cancelled as well as Smokin’Joe and the Mudflaps. Blank said he’s not sure yet what those missed bookings might cost, but the Monarchs might still make an appearance.
The YMCA’s chicken dinner, which was expected to clear about $6,000 this year to fund third-grade swim lessons, will be lucky to break even, said Lisa Fisher, executive director of the Y.
Even so, tickets sold in advance can be returned for reimbursement in one of three ways. ‘Just bring your unused ticket to the front desk of the YMCA by Oct. 4 for either a complete refund, a gift card or a tax-deduction letter,’ Fisher said.
Business was fairly brisk at Tyson’s truckload chicken sale, even though sales had to be moved from the fairgrounds east to the Tyson plant and some customers had to stop and ask directions.
‘Overall, sales went probably as good as we expected,’ said committee member Jim Cavins, material’s manager at Tyson’s.
Net proceeds from the sales are donated to Leadership Harrison County, sponsors of the festival.
In years past, Leadership has made about $7,500 to $8,000 on the festival. This year, said Blank, ‘that will be zero!’
‘We may lose money,’ he said, but quickly added, ‘we won’t be totally devastated because of our sponsors.’ Those include the Harrison County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Harrison County Hospital, Caesars Indiana and Shireman Construction Co.
The Old Hen Contest set for Saturday evening had drawn lots of comments and suggestions that this year she should be the Old Wet Hen and next year an Old Rooster should be selected as well. That’s so no one feels slighted. That show will go on next year, for sure, said McPherson and other committee members.
The reigning queen, princess and little chick were interviewed and selected Saturday, Sept. 16, then announced Friday evening at the fairgrounds before the flooding, said committee pageant chair Judy Love.
Elizabeth Tuell, 20, sponsored by the Y, was named queen, and Paula Hubler, 16, was first runner-up.
Tuell, a student at the University of Louisville, is the daughter of Steven and Robin Bays of Corydon and Vincent Tuell of Elizabeth.
Hubler, a student at Providence Junior-Senior High School, is the daughter of Matthew and Stephanie Hubler of Elizabeth.
Megan Kaufer, 13, was named princess. She is a student at Corydon Junior High School and the daughter of Dennis and Linda Kaufer of Corydon.
Amber Whittington, 6, is the little chick for 2006. She is a student at Corydon Elementary School and the daughter of David and Kim Whittington.