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In our opinion: Turkey Carnivals time has come and gone

The time has come for the Newberg Fire Department to stage other events to raise money for Toy and Joy


Citing flagging revenues and interest from the community, the Newberg Volunteer Firefighters Association announced last week the demise of its annual Turkey Carnival.

The fall Newberg tradition, begun 72 years ago, had obviously run its course. Interest had waned in the past five years, proceeds were down and the carnival was no longer fulfilling its role as a viable fundraiser for the department’s popular and highly successful Toy and Joy program.Nov. 20 editorial

Since the onslaught of World War II, the annual Turkey Carnival has been a fall staple in Newberg, providing games for the kids and turkeys for some lucky adults. Like other NVFA events, it had become an opportunity for the community to get together and catch up.

But things change. With all the whizz-bang electronics available to kids today, parents had an increasingly difficult time convincing their offspring that a quaint, low-tech carnival was cool. And the chance to win a turkey through a raffle is not quite the draw it was in the past. Heck, spend enough money on groceries at some local stores and they’ll practically give you a turkey these days.

“The Newberg Volunteer Fire Department decided that the lack of attendance was the public’s way of telling them it was time to do something new,” said the department’s website.

The carnival also required a Herculean effort to career firefighters, volunteer firefighters, honorary firefighters and their families. Cooks were needed to stock the popular kitchen, attendants were needed at the carnival games and somebody had to hand out the turkeys. It was a lot of work.

Still, we’re sad that Newberg is losing yet another piece of its history, an emblem of a simpler time when a small carnival could draw together hundreds of people.

“I’m a traditionalist,” said Steve Warden, NVFA president. “I hate to see something like this go.”

We’re confident, however, that the NVFA will come up with another event to replace the Turkey Carnival, like the summer golf tournament, something that will not only raise money for Toy and Joy, but be something that will give Newberg residents the opportunity to get together, see old friends and build community.

We’re thankful for the run of the Turkey Carnival and its place in Newberg history.



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