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Chamber to take on oversight of the Fall Festival

The Pahrump Chamber of Commerce will now coordinate the Pahrump Fall Festival, chamber officials announced this week.

Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Salli Kerr said the deal was recently finalized after speaking with Nye County officials.

“With the (Pahrump) town board gone, the county has established that they didn’t want town staff to eat up the hours that it was going to take to put on the festival,” she said. “Many of us are aware of the amount of hours those girls on staff put in for the fall festival. They have just worked their fannies off.”

Kerr and her staff will continue to meet with various individuals and committees on the planning of the event scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 24, through Sunday, Sept. 27.

Kerr said the chamber was not the first local agency to run the annual event. In 2003, the town of Pahrump took over the fall festival after volunteers ran it for 38 years as the Harvest Festival.

“When the town first approached me, I asked them if they approached other agencies that might want to do this,” she said. “What I didn’t want to do was to step in and step on anyone’s toes because this is a community event. The town really never wanted to be in the festival business.”

After shopping the idea around to a few local agencies, Kerr said the planning and logistics were beyond their scope.

“We now feel confident that the chamber is a good place to bring that,” she said. “It wasn’t necessarily anything to do with the county at the time, but as that progressed, the county said they were very happy about that because they didn’t want the town running the festival.”

Additionally, Kerr said she wants to assure the community there won’t be any major changes to the event. She is expected to meet with rodeo and arts and crafts organizers.

“We are looking to the people who have kept this event coming to our community for a very long time and want to work with them,” she said. “They want to do it and we want them to do it. I have already met with Ronda and Vern Van Winkle who devote many long hours to this and they are going to continue the parade. I’m not looking to do any re-invention of the wheel at all.”

Kerr also noted that the chamber is no novice when it comes to organizing and coordinating various events within the community.

“We’re strong in working with vendors and we know how to do that,” Kerr said. “We know all of the paperwork and we’re thinking of bringing some of the entertainment scheduling back in here. My board members will do that part.”

At least one aspect Kerr said she would like to alter is how vendors are charged at Petrack Park.

She noted that many local vendors have priced-out due to expenses. One of the main reasons is the cost of insurance.

At times it was cheaper to purchase an annual policy, than to pay for an insurance rider for four days.

“A booth is $200 and the insurance was going to run them another $280, and it was running our locals out of town,” she said. “I have found an umbrella insurance policy that will allow us to do vendors for $60 apiece for the festival, so it suddenly makes it more affordable.”

For additional information call the chamber at 775-727-5800.

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