Volunteers rally behind Woodbury's annual get together
For nearly four decades, Woodbury Days has been the city's annual get together.
From food tastings, live entertainment, carnival rides and stretches upon stretches of local business booths and other activities, the event has grown over the years, both in size and in tradition.
Behind the scenes, however, a group of volunteers offers much of their free time painstakingly making preparations to put on the annual event.
So when the Woodbury Days council raised worries the 39th-annual event could be canceled due to being short on volunteers, the community quickly came to the rescue.
"It really shows that it's an important part of our community, and people want it to keep happening," said Woodbury Days president Theresa Janechek. "It shows they're willing to take their own time to make that be the case, which for me, was really heartfelt."
Now the event's council has about 52 volunteers, more than double the number from earlier this year.
Janechek has been a member of the Woodbury Days Council for more than 20 years, and despite the countless hours she and other volunteers put in, seeing the event take shape has kept her motivated all these years.
"The part that makes it all worthwhile is seeing it all come together," she said. "You see the people coming together, screaming 'I love Woodbury Days."
She attributes a large part of the event's success around a small button called the 'Button of Savings.'
The button's design has evolved over the years, but it's also allowed the event to remain free each year by attracting sponsors, as well as purchases.
The funds the organization raises goes right back into the event.
Participating businesses are able to advertise deals, and event-goers who buy the button are able to save money throughout the month of August, as well as attend special events at the annual festival.
Buyers also have a shot at winning some pretty impressive prizes, including a new car from nearby car dealerships.
Janechek said when she joined the council, the accompanying pamphlet that goes with the button was a measly 8.5-by-11 page.
The button only gave buyers access to the event's ambassadors who were being crowned that year. The discounts were only valid for about a week or week or two, Janechek added.
That was when Janechek and the council thought the button would provide an opportunity to connect Woodbury-area businesses with the rest of the community.
The concept started out simple, but "really took off," Janechek said. "We were a much smaller community then."
Now the deal book goes out to more than 70,000 households and contains more than 40 pages of local deals.
Button sales have also taken off, and the group sold more than 8,000 last year.
Event-goers can buy buttons from several participating businesses before and during the late-August event.
More information on the event and the button is available on Woodbury Day's website.