Fawnskin Doo Dah Parade Dumped?!

As reported previously, the Fawnskin Doo Dah Parade once had the distinction of making the Guinness Book of World Records and in 2009 celebrated the 33rd year of Doo Dah (click over for links to previous coverage and photos).

Rumors circulating through town are that the event has been cancelled–but the Old Miners Day schedule has the Doo Dah Parade announced as being July 24, 2010 under the direction of Lynda McGuiness. (McGuiness is not a Fawnskin resident but is known for a couple of events she holds in Fawnskin each year.)

The Events in Big Bear Calendar also lists the Fawnskin Doo Dah Parade (followed by the Fawnskin Goldrush Days at Pederson’s Mill) on July 24, 2010.

Originally spearheaded by Fawnskin resident Kathy Murphy, the Doo Dah parade has been a source of good visitor attendance and commerce for the town of Fawnskin for 33 years–so far.

In addition, the event has its share of kooky coverage nationally.

Coverage that you just cannot buy.

Eventually Kathy needed out and the North Shore Improvement Association became involved more and more and the event has been a Fawnskin favorite for years.

The rumor circulating is that NSIA tried to hand it off to Moose Lodge 2085 (who declined) and then that it was passed to the Fawnskin Chamber.

In a recent email that was circulating amidst select circles(of which GG is excluded), it was announced that the Doo Dah Parade for 2010 was cancelled:

“Unfortunately, we’re going to have to cancel the Doo Dah parade this year. There are too many complications, too many costs, and not enough time. We’ll be better able to plan it next year.”

Excuse me?

This would be the 34th year and there are too many complications, too many costs and not enough time?


One of the things Fawnskin Folks are pissing and moaning about is the fact that this event is well loved.

It also attracts people and commerce into the little town which translates into dollars spent in the local businesses.

At least one person asked about funding that has been collected by NSIA for Fawnskin–questioning the larger and larger amounts collected during the annual Fawnskin Mayor Race and whether or not they are being spent here.

Which led into another question which was, “Since NSIA has always supported the event, why is there a problem with funding?”

This question leads into why the community organizations don’t work together more to make things happen.

Having been involved in all three only as a member (and sometimes volunteer) I don’t have the answer for you but can say that each group has a core group of volunteers that make it happen and few outside of those people.

However, I must say that there are some good questions floating around town–and yes, yes, I’ve emailed a few folks for answers–and am waiting to hear the story.

Personally, I withdrew from local organizations as a whole some time back.

In fact, I did not attend the Doo Dah Parade in 2009 (for the first time since I took up residence in Fawnskin). You can view some 2009 photos here.

From the perspective of a resident and business person located here–I am a bit chagrined over this and other “decisions” made around these parts.

But before I rant and rave–I’ll wait to see if I get you any answers. But feel free to chime in through the comments below!

Response from Fawnskin Chamber
We had a very difficult time getting contact with anyone from Old Miners Association to see if they were doing the parade, and if not, could we do it without causing problems. Consequently, we started very late in the year.

Kathy Murphy was very helpful with information about what part she had been responsible for in the past. But a lot of it had been done by OMA and the city of BBL. They were not as forthcoming with information. And when we did get it, another chunk of time had passed. And what we found out was that we had to do all the work ourselves that they had done before – permits, insurance, sheriffs, and civil engineering for closing the highway.

And now we come to the money. Permits could run to $800, insurance $200-$600 (different quotes), Highway Patrol (instead of sheriffs) $800, civil engineering $1000+ and it takes quite a bit of time to do. OMA and the city could get things cheaper because it was rolled in under the Old Miners’ Parade and other events permits. The Fawnskin Chamber of Commerce just doesn’t have that kind of money.

We really, really tried to make it happen this year, and I know a lot of people are very disappointed. The chamber wants to start the process for next year’s Doo Dah parade in September. It takes a lot of people helping out a little bit in a lot of areas. And, by definition, all of us in the chamber have businesses to run. One of the options we’re looking at is sponsorships. I know, I know, too commercial. But we’re open to all ideas of how to raise $4000.

From Lynda McGinnis
The Doo Dah Parade has been postponed until 2011, due to unforeseeable expense and time constraints.  The decision was reached by the Fawnskin Chamber board, but they hope to bring it back next year in full force!

Response from NSIA
It is, indeed, sad that after all these years, the Doo Dah parade is being canceled. Kathy Murphy worked very hard for 13 years and the parade went from 2 entries the year before she took the lead to 43 entries the last year she was in charge. After 13 years, she felt she had done her part and the NSIA took a leadership role for the insuing 2 years until 2009.

The NSIA Board did all the pre-planning with additional NSIA members helping on the day of the parade. Since the NSIA charter states its mission is to unite those desirous of improving and promoting the progress and welfare of Fawnskin including its beautification and to provide social and recreational activities for members of the community.

Since the parade is not part of NSIA’s mission, the NSIA Board with the Fawnskin Chamber of Commerce, decided that the Chamber would be responsible for this years parade. Apparently, the Chamber asked Linda McGinnis to lead that effort.

In past years, OMD provided the umbrella insurance policy and advertising. The City of Big Bear Lake staff handled the Caltrans permitting process and Kathy Murphy handled the CHP interface and everthing else. Entry fees covered the cost of trophies. Beginning last year, the CHP charged a fee of approximately $375, so the cost of the parade was minimal.

The NSIA Board and membership will continue to support the DooDah parade in the future with volunteers, entries and consultation.

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10 Responses to “Fawnskin Doo Dah Parade Dumped?!

  • 1
    Edited by GG
    July 9th, 2010 19:26

    $4000 bucks for supporting the parade? Nonsense, but I will help donate money. Tons of people with money in Fawnskin.

    Perhaps locals like us will keep pushing for the parade! But $4000 seems outragious!

  • 2
    GG (Gossip Girl)
    July 9th, 2010 21:01

    It seems a bit high to me as well and a few folks have posed some questions they want answered–such as where is the detailed cost estimate?

    There is a pretty good list…but I’ll see what other ones come in before sending them over for answers.

    Also, I wonder how the business folks in town feel about losing the big influx of cash and customers.

    Really reflects poorly on the chamber.

  • 3
    July 9th, 2010 21:10

    There’s lots of people and organizations responsible for the fiddling and fumbling that axed the parade, but the bottom line is that a cultural icon of the Big Bear Valley has been severely tarnished if not destroyed.

    No need to play the “blame game”……..it should be the “shame game”……

    The real problem appears to be that the troubles were kept a secret and/or hidden….the people of Fawnskin are energetic, resourceful, imaginative and committed, but ya gotta get them involved. Obviously that didn’t happen….sad, very very sad.

  • 4
    GG (Gossip Girl)
    July 12th, 2010 06:16

    Waiting on the OMD response now–they have a meeting tonight.

    What I have found over time here in Fawnskin is that there is a small town, small mind mentality around these parts that fails to look for options. Often there is a lack of cooperation which is why I’ve pulled my memberships from local orgs and ceased participation in a lot of things.

    The failure to find funds for the street lights was the first OMG moment for me. Easier to take them out then to work on solving the issue.

    Then it was the grappling for the Fawnskin Festival which I think is now defunct…

    My point here is, how easy would it have been to ask the community to step up to the plate?

    AND I know to orgs here that have a good chunk of cash and all could have collectively contributed. Too much grappling and too much rhetoric without any accountability.

    Yesterday I attended the event at Captain John’s and when I mentioned the cancellation a person said, “No, it is only postponed.”

    Are you kidding me? What a load of crap–I told the gal I lived in Fawnskin and that it was cancelled not postponed.

  • 5
    Kevin D
    July 12th, 2010 23:44

    This is just another event that has gone by the wayside in the Big Bear Valley. Of all events this one doesn’t age, in fact anything it should just get better every year as opposed to the Old Miners Days events that have seriously seen there days! When was the last time someone you knew in BB talked about “Panning for Gold in Holcomb”? Since BB’s sister city was enacted (Austria) we should focus on collaborations of events there. But the Doo Dah Parade, how can this event ever fail is this world of crazy thinking we live in? It’s limitless what you can do to be a part of a fun event like this…this should be a “showcase” event every summer in Fawnskin without any doubts at all! But how many businesses are left in Fawnskin? The real question?

  • 6
    GG (Gossip Girl)
    July 13th, 2010 07:18

    Big Bear has done a horrible job of moving forward when it comes to events and marketing.

    As far as Fawnskin, there are ten brick and mortar stores downtown and then at least five outside of the main drag(not counting the Discovery Center, Solar Observatory, Forestry Offices, Camps, Post Office, and the Fire Station in the area) but nobody really knows just how many home businesses or services businesses operate in the area.

    There are also four main organizations, one that is part of a larger fraternal organization–so there are a lot contrary to the belief of those who don’t spend any time here. We also have four parks–two are privately owned.

    The main issue on the mountain as a whole is that there is not a cohesive vision, long term plan or cooperative ventures. When businesses and organizations continue to fail to work together there isn’t much innovation or progress.

    Until that changes I suspect the valley will continue to limp along.

    At the moment there are tons of empty commercial properties over on the South Shore these days–not a great statement for the valley and it presents a dismal statement to the visitor and about the business organizations and marketing of the area in my opinion.

  • 7
    David Tomlinson
    July 15th, 2010 06:25

    According to the Old Miners website which has been recently updated, The parade is back on.

  • 8
    GG (Gossip Girl)
    July 15th, 2010 07:32

    You are mistaken, it has not been recently updated and I will be posting their response on Friday–there will be no Doo Dah Parade as correctly reported in the Fawnskin Flyer.

  • 9
    GG Rants Again Oprah, Doo Dah & More! | Fawnskin Flyer Mountain Lake Resort News
    July 16th, 2010 06:39

    […] case you missed the first report on the Doo Dah Cancellation–it is […]

  • 10
    July 22nd, 2010 15:14

    Thanks to Kathy Murphy and her many years of hard work to make the Doo Dah the event it has become. Looking forward to it’s return next year. And yes, I’m willing to offer some time to help.