LizFest 2013 Recap

Wow!  It has already been a month since LizFest 2013!  We were blessed in so many ways this year- from the rain holding off, to our incredible volunteers, to the many people that came out to help us celebrate a beautiful woman’s life.

LizFest started last year as a motorcycle rally that was going to be a benefit for Elizabeth and me.  I was at the preliminary meeting for it, and I knew it was going to be something special as soon as someone asked the question “Well, what is the motorcycle rally going to end at?”  That’s all it took!  We went from a motorcycle rally to an all-out festival with one question!  I would say that at times there were doubts about whether or not we could pull it off, but that would be lie.  After all, we had an Angel watching us, and we had John Purdue motivating us down here!

This year we changed some things around; one of the biggest changes being that we moved the golf tournament to Valley High Golf Club.  We were very excited to see so many teams show up to try their hand at winning this year.  From what I’ve heard, everyone had a pretty good time on the course, which is what LizFest is all about!

We also had another successful year for the Motorcycle Ride.  I was excited to see so many of the riders take advantage of the free beer ticket and come down to the fest grounds to have a good time with everyone else after the ride. It was really cool to see that parking lot fill up with so many bikes!

At the fest grounds, we had a volleyball tournament, bags tournament, dunk tank and FREE kid’s activities.  These events, in my opinion, are the heart of LizFest.  These are the areas that I could see Elizabeth enjoying the most.  She would have loved to see all the teams over at Crescent Inn playing volleyball and having a great time.  I was able to sneak over there for a little while and just watch.  It was great to see people who usually play competitively just play for fun for the day!  No one took it too seriously, which I thought was just perfect.

Another place I was able to sneak to was the bags tournament.  Wow.  It was so fun to watch and listen to the good-spirited heckling going on over there!  For the second year in a row we were lucky enough to field a full tournament.  Kelsey did another great job trying her best to keep those players in line.  Thanks Kelsey!  I’m already looking forward to next year to see it all again!

The dunk tank and the kid’s activities were probably my favorite this year.  I loved seeing all of the grown-ups laughing right along with the children the first time that Don Weber was dunked.  He did a great job starting us out, and everyone else that followed just kept it going!  (And yes, I was very relieved to not be a participant this year!)  I think that people were able to let go of some frustrations when the two cops from La Crescent climbed in, which I thought was just hilarious!  Over at the kid’s activities we added two large bounce houses, which were a huge hit!  It was pretty funny to me when I had parents coming up thanking me for completely wearing their children out!  These were my two favorite events just because they reminded me of Elizabeth the most.  She would have loved to see everyone laughing at and enjoying two of the goofiest things that we had.  I could just about hear her laughing right along with everybody!

It’s hard to believe that this was our second year doing this!  Next year we’ll continue to make changes and improvements to keep making it bigger and better.  For instance, we are thinking of moving the date to the second weekend in August- mainly because August 12th is Elizabeth’s birthday, which means that every once in awhile the festival that celebrates her life would fall directly on her birthday!  She always enjoyed a good birthday party, so we are thinking of giving her one!

Lastly, I’d like to thank all of our wonderful volunteers that helped pull this off.  I’ve been amazed over and over again at how many lives Elizabeth must have touched to have so many passionate people want to help out.  All of our volunteers that helped out that day really stepped up to make sure that we keep moving in the right direction.

And of course I can’t forget to mention our LizFest Planning Committee.  We met for the first time in January to start planning this year.  We were lucky to have a blueprint from last year, but wow, did you guys ever work your butts off so we could do this the right way.  This honestly wouldn’t have happened without those Tuesday night meetings!  I already can’t wait to start planning for next year!

Keep listening in the coming months for information on our next major event, which will be in November!  This one is going to be a big one since November is lung cancer awareness month.  I can’t say too much yet, just that I am very excited to attend!  And make sure to check out the LizFest 2013 gallery for all the pics from this year’s event– click here!   Cheers!

Matt