Wednesday, November 30th, 2022 Church Directory
JOSH KUHA AND BARTT GEVENS (center) talked with some of the attendees at Pebble Creek in regards to forming a committee for future Freedom Days events. (Patriot Photo by BIll Morgan).

Freedom Days planners being sought

How much do you love Becker’s summer celebration, Freedom Days?

Well the city of Becker is looking to transfer “ownership” of the event to the community — essentially comprising a committee or non-profit organization to take the reins and run the event while also absorbing the duties of planning, organizing, fundraising and volunteering time and effort to make the week-long annual event viable.

Josh Kuha (Recreation and Leisure Assistant Director) and Bartt Gevens (Recreation Services Manager) invited the public (business owners, chamber members, citizens, etc.) to a meeting last week at Pebble Creek to discuss the possibility of transferring duties to community members. Public Services Director Phil Knutson was also on hand as well as Becker Mayor Tracy Bertram.

“We are looking for a working committee to move this from a city-planned function to something the community can embrace,” said Kuha. “It would start with a clean slate.”

Those in attendance from the public were John Riebel of Becker True Value Hardware (and Becker Legion), Tracie Hogrefe of Charlie’s Bar & Grill, Amy Stanger of Edina Realty, Carol Hanson of the Patriot Newspaper, Meggan and Shelly from St. Cloud Financial Credit Union and the owners of Bill’s Family Foods and Bill’s Superette, amongst others.

Several of the area organization said they were disappointed in the city for not reaching out to them to get more involved in the week-long event. Some said they were more involved in the past, but the last few years they’ve not been contacted.

Gevens attributed the lack of contact from the city to the last few year’s and the dealings with the COVID-19 epidemic.

“A couple years ago we canceled it because of COVID and the last few years, we just didn’t feel like putting a hardship on area businesses with requests after all they went through with the disease,” said Gevens.

A survey was initially introduced to the guests asking them what they liked or didn’t like about Freedom Days past. It also asked for any suggestions to make the event more successful and also asked if any of the guests would like to be on the committee or non-profit organization.

“We’d like to see the community grow the event over the next couple years,” said Knutson. “We’d still be involved at the city level for services, of course, but we just want the community to drive this thing.”

Several suggestions were made at the meeting to generate fundraising including re-instituting the t-shirts with sponsors on them, bringing in pull-tabs, etc. The city also said they are committed to their budget of $14,000 for this next year to go towards the event.

Kuha suggested this committee be organized soon since planning for the summertime event usually begins just after the first of the year. He said the commitment for the committee would most likely be meeting, serving at the event and attending planning meetings.

“We’d like to get a team built soon, so spread the word about this opportunity,” Kuha said.

For anyone interested in volunteering to be a part of the Freedom Days committee, contact Josh Kuha at JKuha@ci.becker.mn.us.