Jaycees hand over flea market management to fire association

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The Prairie du Chien Jaycees (manning the beer tent last year) are passing the torch on to the Prairie du Chien Fire Association, who will now manage the flea market, beer tent and buffalo burger stand on the Prairie Villa Rendezvous grounds each June.

By Correne Martin

For over 30 years, the Rendezvous flea market has been a large and successful function organized by the Prairie du Chien Jaycees. But, for the 2018 event, the Jaycees are passing the torch on to the Prairie du Chien Fire Association, which will coordinate and continue the efforts behind the event for the community.

Due to declining volunteer availability, the Jaycees feel they can no longer productively staff the flea market, beer tent and buffalo burger stand at the Prairie Villa Rendezvous grounds every June, said Jaycee Tori Varo. Because the fire association has worked the burger stand for 15 years, the switchover seemed a natural fit for both parties, fellow Jaycee Tarah Marx added.

The fire association has gladly accepted the supervisory and organizational responsibilities of the event, which has proven to be a significant fundraiser throughout the years. Over 150 flea market vendors pay fees to utilize the space for their sales and, of course, the beer tent and buffalo burger stand bring in proceeds as well, according to the Jaycees.

“We see this move as a simple change in leadership,” said Steve Rickleff, Prairie du Chien fire captain and association volunteer. He noted the association has a strong membership, including local active and retired firemen as well as their families.

Planning every aspect of the flea market is a great commitment. Varo explained that it involves arranging vendor space, obtaining licenses through the city, acquiring appropriate insurance, buying supplies for the food stand and beer tent, planning musical entertainment, registering and assigning vendor space, setting up and taking down tables and tents and more. The fire association is comfortable with managing all of these duties.

Jaycees and fire association leaders expect this minor adjustment to be a smooth process for flea market vendors. A letter is being sent to previous participants informing them about it and providing them details necessary for communication about questions and concerns.

In addition, the Jaycees have agreed to stay on in a supportive role, offering what volunteers they may have for additional staffing at the event.

“Both organizations want this event to continue. We feel it’s great for the community, local businesses and vendors and we want to see it remain successful,” Varo stated.

For more information or with questions, contact Steve Rickleff at (608) 379-4551 or pdcfiredept@gmail.com. Also, visit the association’s Facebook page closer to the 2018 event for updates.

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