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Woodbury Days: Without new leadership, there’s possibility annual event could end

We might have seen the last of Woodbury Days as we know it.

Without an infusion of new talent, the Woodbury Days Council might scale back plans for its 39th city festival as soon as 2017. Worst-case scenario: the event might be canceled.

"It's not an absolute, but it's a definite possibility," Woodbury Days president Theresa Janechek said.

At an Oct. 19 meeting, the 25-member Woodbury Days Council learned about the executive board's plans to restructure to include room for up to 55 members on the council's 10 committees—Button of Savings, business fair, bingo, parade, volunteers, sponsorship, public relations and marketing, social media, Taste of Woodbury, and event coordinator.

The big change is that in 2017 event coordinator will become a committee, rather than one person, Janechek said. Her 19 years as event coordinator are over due to health issues.

In hopes of wooing prospective council members, the Woodbury Days Council has scheduled an open house for 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, at Eagle Valley Golf Course, 2600 Double Eagle Lane in Woodbury. Interested business owners, church leaders and residents of the Woodbury area can meet committee members and learn about committees' work to put on the annual festival, set for each August in Ojibway Park.

"It might be an opportunity to find out where they fit in, where their skills fit in," Janechek said. "We need another 30 people to join the council. We don't have anyone to do the business fair. We don't have anyone to do the parade. We don't have anyone to do the bingo. If we don't have anyone to do that, it could potentially not happen."

Most likely, Woodbury Days is on for 2017 but cancelation is a possibility.

"I can't accept that in my heart," Janechek said. "As much as I don't want it to be reality, the reality is if we don't get people, it could go away. In reality, if we don't get people, it'll happen in a lesser way. I just can't imagine that people wouldn't help. We just haven't been asking very well."

Before Woodbury Days would be entirely shut down, the council would consider what parts of the event it might be able to do without.

Woodbury Days has been growing in popularity and its business fair participants, carnival, events, and food vendors need attention. The council and executive board has been taking on too much. Janechek won't be able to take on any and all unfilled roles.

"We haven't had a plan B," said Randy Roberts, a 15-year member of the Woodbury Days Council.

Four years ago, Janechek got so worn down that she collapsed from dehydration at the opening of Woodbury Days.

This year, despite pacing herself, Janechek ended up in the hospital for several days, missing all of the festivities due to dehydration and some unknown underlying issue, she said. "I can't go full throttle for that long and make it through. My doctors tell me I can't, and the people closest to me tell me I can't."

Some of her closest confidants are on the Woodbury Days Council, and a half-dozen of them have agreed to keep the council's executive board running through the end of the year. Janechek's recent scares have served as a warning to the rest of the board: take it easy.

"They're tired and they could use some help," Roberts said.

That's where humble, innovative, hardworking, visionary do-gooders who work well with others come in.

The nine-member executive board—also part of the Woodbury Days Council—needs a vice president, secretary and treasurer.

Because the Woodbury Days Council takes pride in the fact that its organization is all-volunteer, it prefers not to hire an event coordinator, although Janechek said a $10,000 to $20,000 grant, sponsor or partnership might fill part of the organizations' needs. Every dollar of Woodbury Days' $280,000 annual budget goes back into putting on the event for the next year.

"People have to step up," Roberts said.

Time commitments vary from fully invested to something less and everywhere in between, Janechek said.

Those who want to work, Janechek said, should attend the open house, email or call 651-735-0409.