Coon Creek Country Days — the highlight of the summer in this little hamlet — has been cancelled this year for lack of funds and lack of volunteers.
It’s your typical small town festival with a parade, greasy (but delicious) food vendors in the park and rock bands so loud you can hear them across town. In the grand scheme of things, Coon Creek Days epitomized small-time. But in Hampshire, it was the biggest weekend of the summer.
In my short time here, I’ve already made Coon Creek memories. We moved into our house during Coon Creek Days in 2007. My brother- and sister-in-law always have a party in their back yard during Coon Creek Days because they have such a great view of the fireworks. I ran in the Coon Creek Days 10K last summer — the first race since my marathon in 2006 that I’ve put any effort into.
Granted, I haven’t bothered to volunteer to help, and apparently none of my neighbors have either. I did, however, vote for the park district referendum in February. Apparently, not enough of my neighbors agreed with me because that tax vote went down in flames, and the park district tried to close their budget gap by charging the Coon Creek Days committee $3,000 to use the park — a price the committee decided it couldn’t stomach.
This is exactly the type of thing I willing to pay for when I pay my taxes. I can’t buy roads or teachers or national defense — or Coon Creek Days — by myself, but I contribute a little bit with my taxes (and so does everyone else), and so I enjoy the benefits of big projects.
It’s a hard lesson, but the old saying is true: You get what you pay for.
And you don’t get what you don’t pay for.
I’ll miss you this year, Coon Creek Days.