Legion pulls sponsorship for June Days

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ORFORDVILLE - The local American Legion post has decided not to sponsor Orfordville's June Days celebration next year due to event planning and control disagreements.

The Wells-Davis-Young-Neal Post 209 of the American Legion in Orfordville Executive Committee adopted a resolution dated Oct. 2 that states in part "that Post 209 will cease all financial, contractual and material obligations and contributions to June Days, effective immediately."

June Days features carnival rides and games, a beer garden, a baseball tournament, a parade, fireworks and other events.

Orfordville Village President Gary Phillips said June Days will go forward and it will be organized and planned by a committee with representatives from several groups in the community. The Village Board recently gave unanimous approval to have June Days organized by a committee.

"I feel June Days is a good thing for the village, but we need a little bit of accountability if we are going to put taxpayer money into the event," Phillips said.

In a letter to Orfordville Village President Gary Phillips, American Legion Post 209 Commander Allen Morris stated the American Legion became the main sponsor of June Days about 35 years ago and the post's annual investment in the event is typically in excess of $10,000.

"Unfortunately, recently mandated changes to the structure of June Days have forced Post 209 to the conclusion that it can no longer sponsor June Days," the letter signed by Morris states.

The disagreement seems to focus on a committee that was formed to bring new ideas forward regarding June Days. Phillips said after the last June Days celebration, he the police chief and the public works director got together to discuss concerns about the celebration. A committee was suggested to plan the next community celebration.

"It would be truly a community activity that everyone could be involved with," Phillips said.

However, the American Legion representatives had a different view of the committee.

"Prior to the third meeting, the Post 209 Executive Committee did raise some concerns as to the direction of some of these discussions," the Legion Post's letter stated. "It directed Commander Allen Morris to relay their position that if this new committee was being formed to take control over what any group involved in June Days could or could not do that Post 209 could not be a part in it."

Morris later stated in the letter that the American Legion Post 209 is not opposed to the committee, but that the issue of control is important to the post because of the amount of money it provides to June Days.

The letter acknowledges that the village also provides funds for the celebration, including 75% of the cost for fireworks, insurance for the fireworks, as well as the use of Purdy Park and police and other services during the event. Phillips said the village puts about $10,000 into the celebration each year, which includes police and public works services.

Phillips said he still is willing to work with the local American Legion post, but for now the June Days planning will go on without their assistance.

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