Founders Day Tractor Pull

Organizers are proposing changes to Founders Day — including the addition of a theme and new events — to help boost attendance to the annual event.

The Union Park Board Thursday began discussing changes to the event due to decreased attendance at the event that was held June 7.

“We didn’t have a great turnout because of thunderstorms,” said Park Director Kevin Arand. “We had a nice crowd at the beginning. Some stuck around after the first storm but left when the second round hit.”

Arand questioned if the event still should be held in June, or if moving the festival to the fall would be a better option.

“We could have the greatest activities in the world, but nobody is going to come out if it is 105 degrees and raining,” he said.

Park Activity Coordinator Angie Breeden said she thought it is best to hold off on a date change, and instead focus on a makeover of the event to bolster attendance.

“Maybe we should try the theme and then talk about the date change,” she said.

Board member Terri Lanham said Founders Day should feature more events with a “community feel,” such as a pie eating contest.

Each year the turtle races are a major draw during Founders Day,

“Turtle races would fit in with that,” added Alderman Dustin Bailey.


Arand suggested a changing theme to the event that could be based on movies or TV shows, like “Grease” or “Happy Days.”

A more general theme of “pioneer days” was offered by board member Eileen Wade.

“We can change the theme every year and make it different than just “Founders Day,” said Arand.

He explained that there could be a variety of events and activities centered around the theme. If the theme is based on a movie, there could be a showing of the film.

Founders Day is geared toward families, which is why it was relocated a few years ago to the city park from downtown Union.

It was held at the city park in the 1990s but was moved to the square after flooding in 2000.

“If you can bring kids you can bring families,” said Bailey.

Date Change

Arand said there is no real significance to holding Founders Day the first Saturday in June.

“We could have it in the fall when the weather is better and not so many families are on vacation,” he said.

A change in the date would require that a city ordinance be changed, according to Bailey.

“(The weather) is agreeable every three to four years,” Bailey said. “The Chamber gets the run in and then it’s a crap shoot.”

Breeden added that Union was founded in 1827, possibly in late June.