Anita Moss, coordinator of the Mora Arts & Cultural Compound and organizer of Mora Fall Fest, describes what it was to create this event that has become a tradition in the community. She explains how they came up with the concept, intention and purpose for fundraiser.
My self and a board member sat with our husbands watching the Fiesta Parade. We realized there was only one parade unit about children. As we were noticing, we began planning. What if we created an event totally centered on family friendly activities? Well, Fall activities totally made sense. Mora is the ‘breadbasket’ of New Mexico and the Southwest. Our signature scarecrow, which is a happy symbol, represents that, and autumn. Halloween is fun for a lot of families, but some don’t participate, or have concerns over what seems scary to little ones. So, we added a costume contest and family oriented trunk or treat, but also, decorating pumpkins, and educational activities like Explora Children’s Science Center, the Mora National Fish Hatchery, and old fashioned games.
An event that is mostly free, can still be expensive on this scale. The event needs insurance, porta-potties (Mr. Roybal has generously assisted with each year!), pay for free activities and prizes, radio advertisements (It surely helps build Mora back up as a wonderful place to visit and during one of our most beautiful seasons!) Also, the intention to have this as a larger event was to minimize the need for small fundraisers that bring little overall profit to our school organizations. With a large crowd on one day, the organizations can bring in a few hundred dollars without taxing family selling candy, popcorn and another t-shirt. We wanted something that would take the pressure off of families and organizations and make one big effort that is actually fun for everyone to participate in.
The Mora Arts & Cultural Compound Board decided to start this 5 years ago. It took 18 months to plan the first. This year is our 4th annual. It takes a lot of coordination. The state police participate, the NMDOT require a special permit, coordination with the county and commission, and arranging participants. Our board reviews what we are doing, how organizations are involved and think through changes to make sure we are staying close to the mission of this event.
First and foremost, this is a family friendly event. We want our local families to have this as a tradition. It should be something that our children bring their children back to because it is the essence of a community that embraces family and tradition. If an organization wants to participate, they submit an application which states what they are raising funds, or awareness for. The board reviews applications on a first come, first serve. For example, only one organization can have a basketball competition, only one cake walk and so on. The fundraising needs to be for an organization or educational project. Vendors for random t-shirt sales or blow up plastic toys need not inquire.
Speaking of homemade and home town… We started hosting a quilt show and competition. The St. Vrain Mill is a fabulous backdrop for the quilts. In addition to the challenge, we have displayed a large number of vintage quilts from the Depression. Last year we had an amazing ‘Crazy Quilt’ from 1895!
The Mora Arts & Cultural Compound needs to have a fundraiser to pay for our community website and minimal administrative needs. Our fundraiser is selling food at Fall Festival. Please stop in and purchase your lunch; help us out. Read our other blogs to see many of the activities Mora Arts & Cultural Compound assists with throughout the year.