This is a short history devoted to the final chapter of Randolph’s Heritage Festival. From 1994-2005, a group of Randolph residents and others organized and presented a wonderful small town festival on the last weekend in September at the Randolph Fairgrounds,
The festival was started by the Randolph Historical Society and for the first few years it rained every other year. It had ups and downs due to the weather, but every year it became better, having new displays, entertainment, community involvement and an atmosphere that was conducive to a fun day celebrating the heritage of Randolph.
After the first few years, the Heritage Festival became independent from the historical society and went to a two-day festival for the purpose of expanding the base of the festival committee organizers and promote expansion with a craft show, a car show and other entertainment. This configuration of the festival continued through the last year. Through all the years of the festival, the committee was committed to returning the proceeds back to the community and followed through with their commitment. Giving to numerous Waterloo community needs including Waterloo Schools for gym supplies, students attending Maplewood Career Center in Ravenna and numerous other projects.
The festival committee, through those 11 years attracted a pleasant mix of people with diverse opinions and abilities. That was the life of the festival, people using their talents arid sharing them with the community to create great days of fun and entertainment. As the years went on, the committee saw some turnover of members usually leaving their ideas to continue on in subsequent years, but about six committee members through the years stayed on and were the backbone of the festival. Here was the only downfall of the operation. Expecting six volunteers to devote a whole year of planning and implementation of a festival such as this, while keeping it fresh, when community support is waning. That is a monumental task!
In the last few years the festival has experienced good weather and moderate success and along with no outstanding organization being chosen to receive the proceeds, the funds grew. All the while, the lack of new members on the festival committee made it difficult to continue the festival.
On July 10, 2006, the Randolph Heritage Festival Committee held its last meeting. Invited to the meeting were all those involved over the history of the festival and 17 were present. Passion for this festival made it very hard to let it go and at times the emotions were high, but in the end it was agreed to discontinue the festival. For those who had been involved in this nice small town festival it was a disappointment, but the reality is that today it is difficult to organize an event such as this with all volunteers. These persons should be thanked for all their hard work!