North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

We want to ensure the success of, not undermine, the Strawberry Festival

 


I am writing in response to the article “Berry fest in jam, seeks help” which appeared in the March 12, 2017, edition of the Marysville Globe.

In that article Maryfest president Darren Doty and vice president Mark Jensen said, “There is a group trying to undermine the Maryfest Board of Directors.” We are not trying to undermine the current board or cause harm to the Marysville Strawberry Festival. We are a group of former Maryfest Board members, volunteers and community/business members who are concerned about many of the actions of the current board and its members, and we want to ensure and preserve, not undermine, the success of the Marysville Strawberry Festival so that it will return to being a community event in which the entire community can participate and of which we can all be proud.

The article did list our concerns included in one of the letters we sent, but the article did not ask either Mr. Doty or Mr. Jensen to respond directly to any of those concerns. In addition to the first letter, there were two other letters sent including concerns such as the 2016 election process, By-Law Infractions, questions about the Board Of Directors, lack of a Treasurer for 2-3 years, and lack of financial accountability.

The article stated that many of the people in the “opposition group’ had been involved for many years and resigned for various reasons. Many of us did resign due to the way Maryfest was being run by the current board and the fact that our concerns and questions fell on deaf ears.  Maryfest is being run by one or two people, and if you questioned them you were put down, backed into a corner or threatened.  The issue did not end there, the current Maryfest Board sent a number of former Maryfest volunteers/members letters suspending, rejecting, terminating their memberships and threatening legal actions against them. One letter sent barred a person from attending any Strawberry Festival event for life. They also took away the Charter Membership for Life of a person who had been with Maryfest since its inception in 1974.

In the article, Mr. Doty and Mr. Jensen also referred to the group as a “Secret Society.” We have been anything but secret, holding meetings in public places and welcoming anyone who may have wanted to be involved. We would challenge Mr. Doty and Mr. Jensen and the Maryfest Board to use the same transparency and inclusiveness that we have used.

People and events change, the foundation on which Maryfest was built should not. The Marysville Strawberry Festival is “our community Festival” and it belongs to “our community.” We as a community need to work to “take our Festival back,” and ensure that it continues for our children and grandchildren to enjoy for many, many more years.

Sincerely

Cheryl Deckard

Maryfest Inc. Managing Director (1977-1998)

Maryfest Inc. Grand Parade Director (1975-1978)

Arvin VanBeek

MSF President 2013-14

Float Crew

Volunteer for 10 years

Alice VanBeek

First Lady 2013-14

Hospitality Director

Float Crew

Volunteer for 10 years

Jodi Hiatt

20 year Volunteer

Lynn Kramer

7 year Volunteer and Member

 

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