Rain dampens Harvest Home Fair fundraiser for Cheviot-Westwood Kiwanis

Posted at 3:33 PM, Sep 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-18 16:17:50-04

CHEVIOT, Ohio -- Many West Side organizations may not get donations from the Harvest Home Fair this year after rain virtually washed out the four-day event earlier this month.

This was the 61st year for the Harvest Home Parade and the 159th year for the Harvest Home Fair. The Cheviot-Westwood Kiwanis Club puts on the event every year, and relies on the profits to help the community.

But Mother Nature dampened the finances quite a bit this year. The Harvest Home Fair's washout was the big topic of discussion Tuesday at the club's luncheon. Chairman Pete Rebold said four days of rain took a toll on attendance. He said the event usually draws 30,000 or 40,000 people, and this year just a few thousand people showed up.

Thursday night's parade got soaked. It got started 15 minutes late.

"We weren't going to cancel," parade co-chair David Becker said. "We were going to run that parade regardless."

About one-third of the 160 units in the parade pulled out because of the precipitation.

"We had eight bands in the parade," Becker said. "Four of them left us."

The $5 admission fee was waived, and the few people who did show up weren't able to ride the rides. Rebold said that after a few hours, "it was a total washout."

The fair grounds turned into a mud pit. Heavy equipment was used to pull out rides and other vehicles. 

The kitchen crew ordered enough food for the usual crowds — fish for Friday, roast beef for Saturday and Ron's Roost chicken on Sunday. But no people meant no sales.

"The roast beef, we couldn't return. The bread, we couldn't return. The dairy, we couldn't return," kitchen co-chair Bob Hamilton said. "So we had to donate all these things. We went to various food pantries and did give it away."

The fair normally grosses about $140,000 for the Kiwanis Club, but this year there is just enough money to cover overhead, not donations for the community.

"The money that we have to give back this year is going to be a lot slimmer because we just didn't make money," Rebold said.

The fair did have $35,000 in rain insurance, which will help cover some of the losses. And members of the community are stepping up to help, including on a Gofundme page. Gofundme page.