March 1, 2007 - Posted at 6:03 p.m. CST
BATESVILLE-The White River Water Carnival was just one of the issues our viewers asked about in last week's "Good Neighbor Community Spotlight" on Independence County.
Since then, a newspaper article mentioned the Water Carnival could be dumped, but the Batesville Chamber says they are not dumping anything.
"It was never in our minds or in our intentions that we ever wanted to dump the carnival," said Jonah Shumate, President and CEO of the Batesville Chamber of Commerce.
Recent talks by the Batesville Chamber have caused some confusion about the future of the annual White River Water Carnival.
"The general consensus of the Board of the Chamber was this is not a typical board function. The board needed to be focused more towards business development and increasing economic activity," said Board Member, Kip Norton.
However, they say that never meant saying good bye to the water carnival.
"The Chamber of Commerce has an obligation to the Water Carnival. That obligation is to keep it going," said Norton.
It was an obligation the Chamber took on many years ago when it adopted the annual carnival.
For 64 years the Water Carnival has brought names like Elvis Presley and the Rascal Flatts to Batesville. The Chamber says the last thing they ever wanted to do is erase that history.
"When you look at how Batesville was founded and where it first began, the river is important. So when you look at the Water Carnival, it's a key element of our community," said Shumate.
The Chamber is now calling on the community to help out.
It's their hopes that the people will now adopt an interest of their own, and help take some of the strain off the Chamber.
"We are going to need some partners in our community to make sure that we don't take anything away from the Carnival, that we keep its integrity and it's character that it's had for so many years," said Shumate.
However, the Chamber says no matter what their long term plans, the Water Carnival will continue to flourish along the banks of the White River.
"Until or unless that partner is found, the Chamber is going to continue to operate the carnival as it always has," said Norton.
The entertainment line up for this year's carnival is expected to be released in a couple of weeks.
If you would like information on how to help out or how you could become a sponsor, just call the Batesville Chamber at 870-793-2378.
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