KEEPING IT POPPIN’ IN MARION
For the last seven years, Robb Koons has dedicated his volunteer efforts to make the Marion Popcorn Festival the truly amazing event it is today. He served as assistant director for four years and as director for two. After this year, he will serve his last year as a board member. He shared some of his memories and thoughts about the festival.
Many don’t realize what the Popcorn Festival brings to the community. The entertainment, that performs, is free to the public. While the entertainment is on the main stage, Robb loves to stand at the corner of Church and Prospect St. and observe people of all kinds having a good time. It makes him smile to know that he is part of something that brings people together.
Concessionaries, crafters, and other businesses at the festival also help Marion. They frequent stores, hotels, and other businesses while they are here. There are measurable impacts like the revenue it brings to the county, from concessionaries hiring people to the tourists that visit. The Marion Popcorn Festival has created a name for Marion, because of the attendee numbers, but also within the festival world. At the Ohio Festivals and Events meetings, other events view the Popcorn Festival as a premier event in the state.
When asked to share a favorite memory of the festival, Robb found it hard to choose. He was the first Mr. Marion Popcorn Festival; but, his favorites involve friends that he made from this festival. They are like family now and friends for life. The most fun they have is when the festival is over and it is time to clean up. Once, they loaded chairs on a golf cart to a tipping point. At around 1 a.m., they were driving down to the storage place looking like the Clampetts from the Beverly Hillbillies. Robb was laughing the whole way, with three of the volunteers smashed in the front seat holding on to the chairs.
As he said, “… we were running on no sleep, but I wouldn’t trade this memory for anything!”
It has been Robb’s greatest pleasuring serving the Marion Popcorn Festival and the Marion community. He shows the MarionMade! spirit when he says, “ I did not take this role for the title or power; I took this role because of the passion and the challenge. The passion I have for this community is indescribable.” He looks forward to serving on the advisory board of the festival so that he can help future leaders of the festival.