Chamber juggling events lineup

Published 5:54 pm Friday, January 13, 2012

The Demopolis Chamber of Commerce released its 2012 calendar of events this week. Noticeably absent from the agenda is the short-lived Hay Dayz festival.

“It was kind of a board decision,” Demopolis Chamber of Commerce Director Jenn Tate said. “Even though we tried it for two years in partnership with the Demopolis City Schools Foundation, even though the people that came enjoyed it, it was a lot of work.”

The event, which had its debut in August 2010, was designed to be a joint fundraiser between the Demopolis Chamber of Commerce and the Demopolis City School Foundation.

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Consisting of various competitions ranging from watermelon seed spitting to hay bale art to corn dog eating, the event was uniquely crafted to celebrate Demopolis and Southern culture while also providing a stopgap attraction between July’s Freedom on the River and Chamber linchpin, Christmas on the River.

But the event scarcely reached the expectations of some organizers, suffering considerable rainfall the first year and the last-minute loss of a scheduled carnival in 2011.

“We had the rainout the first year. And the second year, we had the carnival cancel,” Tate said. “It was a great thought. It wasn’t profitable. It was supposed to be a fundraiser for both parties involved. It was kind of the heat of the summer that we did that and football season. It just didn’t seem to ever pan out crowd-wise.”

To help fill the void left by the absence of Hay Dayz, Tate hopes to add more Rockin’ on the River events to the schedule as well as a Taste of Home cooking school.

“If I can do some more Rockin’ on the Rivers and a Taste of Home, that will give us something. People do enjoy our concerts,” Tate said. “Taste of Home is being talked about again. We’ve just got to come to terms on finances there.”

Demopolis last hosted a Taste of Home cooking school in 2010, an event that drew acclaim from those who attended.

“It is tentatively scheduled for May 31,” Tate said of the 2010 sold-out event. “This time we would have to presale tickets. We don’t want to sell anymore than 350 tickets because it is a tight fit in there.”

Additionally, Demopolis will host participants in the Master National Field Trials in Oct. The event is slated from Oct. 18-28 and will take place at the Forever Wild Field Trial Area in Greensboro, the property formerly known as the State Cattle Ranch.

“I think they’ve decided to use New Era as their banquet headquarters and their awards ceremony,” Tate said.