by Lisa Tome
Preparations for Sunfest begin weeks before the annual event brings people to Rising Sun.
"We put up the banners three weeks to a month before," said Ron Thomas, Director of Public Works.
Those signs go up on the light poles in town, at the town entrances and at the intersection of Routes 275/276.
"We make sure everything looks nice. We make it look good. But we do that every week though," said Thomas.
On Sunfest day, this year, Saturday, June 6, town crews will set up barricades in assigned places. They also take care of portable toilet placement. At the end of the day, they are charged with the task of removing all the trash that the event generates.
"It's just part of the job and we're used to it. It gets the community involved with the town and that's a good thing," said Thomas. Town crewmen Darrell Baeder said he doesn't mind the work that comes with thousands flocking to the town. Years when he is not working at Sunfest, he attends. "I don't mind the work. I have been to many Sunfests," said Baeder.
Grant Coates also works as a town crewman.
"It's (Sunfest) great. I've been there several times. I go for the food," said Coates.
The public works department aren't the only town staff that gears up for Sunfest. "We always have additional manpower for the parade and during the event," said Police Chief Chip Peterson.
The role of the RSPS during Sunfest is multi-fold. Officers lead the parade, direct traffic, patrol, man a booth at Sunfest, and more.
Chief Peterson said there are few problems during the event. Most common incidents are when people lose something or find something that has been lost. The chief said that are generally no crime-related events. "I take pride in that. We have high visibility," he said.
The police department also sets up a booth where they provide information about a crime trend or area of interest. That was still being determined last week.
The chief said Sunfest is a day filled with opportunities for the police department.
"I actually enjoy it. It gives us the opportunity to showcase the police department. Usually, we are running call to call and responding to people on their worst day. This gives people an opportunity to meet the police in a positive manner," said Peterson. "I have never had an officer say no to working Sunfest. They volunteer. They want to do it."