Stakeholders from both entities hope it’s a win-win scenario

    The Crookston Ox Cart Days Festival has found its new home with local nonprofit Crookston Aquatic Boosters. The partnership came after the Chamber of Commerce, the festival’s former host, looked to move the festival towards a community-led effort. Crookston Aquatic Boosters, a 501c3 nonprofit, hopes the conglomeration will allow the festival to thrive as well as providing more exposure for their organization.

    Nell DeBoer, the 2017 festival chair, has also agreed to run the event for another year.

    “On behalf of the entire Ox Cart Days Committee, I would like to express how grateful we are to Dan and the Aquatic Boosters for stepping up with this amazing gesture,” said DeBoer. “Not only are they providing us an immediate ‘home’ but also the opportunity to enhance and grow the event even more with the non-profit, tax exempt status.”

    “Last year I had agreed to chair the Ox Cart committee to provide leadership, structure and organization while working on the revitalization of the event,” she added. “The support of the businesses, the clubs and organizations and also the community as a whole was just overwhelming and proved just how important this event this is to the vitality of Crookston.”  

    “After much consideration, I have agreed to chair the committee for 2018 as we work towards the long term success of the Crookston Ox Cart Days,” DeBoer continued.

    The Crookston Aquatic Boosters, which has been a nonprofit since 2013 and is chaired by Dan Erdman of Crookston, focuses on water recreation and runs the Aquatic Wellness program and Crookston Crocodile (Crocs) swim team.

    “I want to take a moment to express the breath of fresh air I'm feeling with the decision our Board has given me to jump into this venture and to reassure the entire Ox Cart Committee that we are here for the long haul,” explained Erdman. “Our organization, although extremely small in size, is quite large in heart and enthusiasm for the mission it has to encourage and enhance all aquatic activity in our area.”

    “With the Aquatic Boosters as the fiscal agent and the Chamber of Commerce out of the equation, all of what we do will need to be done online,” DeBoer added. “This will include parade entries and any other registrations. It will also be important for any businesses, groups or clubs to contact us as soon as possible as we will already be in the planning stages in early October.”  

    If you would like to serve on the committee or are interested in having an event whether new or reoccurring, please contact the committee at crookstonoxcartdays@gmail.com.

CROOKSTON AQUATIC BOOSTERS

    Dan Erdman says the Crookston Aquatic Boosters were formed from a group of individuals in Crookston that wanted to support and assist the enhancement of aquatic activities in the Crookston area. 

    "Living in Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes; thousands of miles of rivers, streams, and creeks; and with a growing interest in activities surrounding the use of water, the group felt like the need to organize our efforts to support these activities was needed," explained Erdman. "The timing of our creation also coincided with the pool referendum a few years back." 

    "The group was out talking to people and raising awareness for the need of a well maintained pool facility in Crookston and fully supported the referendum which past during that years election," he added. "While that campaign was underway, our group heard of the possibility of the creation of a splash park in Crookston."

     Erdman says the decision was then made to officially organize the group and attempt to attain a 501c3 non-profit status so they could fundraise and possibly provide financial support along with their verbal/moral support. 

    The Crookston Aquatic Boosters, LLC was created and within a year they attained our 501c3 status.  

    "The first group that we agreed to work with was the Crookston Crocodile Swim Team and Wellness Program," Erdman continued. "We became the Fiscal Agent for them and worked with them on fundraising and creating awareness for the program."

   The Crocs swim team and Wellness program have an annual Wreath Sale fundraiser using an area green house to provide around 200 holiday decorations.  The Crocs also have occasional swim-a-thons and other fund-raising events.

    The Boosters also supported the Crookston Triathlon which had a very successful inaugural event, but the following year, the event fell short as the unexpected closing of the pool for repairs and maintenance caused participants to cancel registration. The event was eliminated as the initial interest and support that was given in the first year had diminished and organizers felt they could not provide a safe and well run event to draw participants, said Erdman.

    "After hearing of the Ox Cart Committee's need for a Fiscal Agent with non-profit status, and with the desire of all to keep the festival going in Crookston, we decided to offer up our services," he added.

    The initial offer was presented at the Wrap Up Meeting that the Ox Cart Committee had in early September.  After a few meetings between the Ox Cart Committee and the Boosters to ask/answer/address a few questions, an agreement has been decided on.