Vendors had a variety of handmade crafts and goodies for sale at this year’s annual show. / Heather Mann
CULLMAN – Running a school band program isn’t cheap. Uniforms, instruments, instrument repairs, transportation, food for the performers and any registration fees for contests and competitions can add up quickly, so many bands rely on fundraisers as well as school funding to pay these expenses. These fundraisers can range from the common bake sales and car washes to renting out a building for a craft fair, as the Vinemont High School band boosters did Friday and Saturday.
For more than 30 years, the Vinemont Eagle Band has raised money for general band maintenance by hosting its annual craft fair. Walking into the Cullman Civic Center, one could see vendors spilling out of the main hall into the entrance hall and several other meeting rooms. There was something for everyone: clothes, bags, crocheted and knitted accessories, wooden trinkets, hand-carved knives and pens, scented wax packets for wax melters, custom-made jewelry, soaps, candles and a concession stand for people who needed a break from shopping.
The fundraiser is sponsored by the Vinemont band boosters, and band members worked at the fair to help the vendors by loading, unloading and taking over their booths when they needed a break. Band booster treasurer Valetta Baker said that the fair has brought an average of $4,000-$4,500 in recent years from vendor booth rentals and concessions sales, although the band’s decreasing size in recent years has resulted in fewer members being able to help prepare more food for the concession stand.
Baker approximated that this year’s fair would raise about $4,000 for the band’s general maintenance fund. “General band equipment, band uniform cleaning – you know we’re a very small band and we don’t get any general outside funds. The school doesn’t provide any additional funds; the only thing the school provides is the band director’s salary,” Baker shared. “Whatever equipment they have to purchase, whatever equipment needs to be repaired, trailer expenses for the trailer to be pulled back and forth, new tires (we’ve had to replace those just recently) – this goes into the general fund to help with all of them, the yearly funds that are required.”
Aside from the craft fair, the Eagle Band also earns a lot of money by sponsoring the Vinemont Elementary beauty pageant. Other smaller fundraisers include smoked meat sales, selling off a blanket with the school emblem, a poinsettia fundraiser (which is happening now), Belk tickets, Christmas cash donations and apparel sales.
Much of the proceeds from these fundraisers will go to, in addition to regular band expenses, helping the band fund a spring trip to Universal Studios, where it will perform in the Superstar Parade. Before then, the band will hold a Christmas concert at Faith Baptist Church on Thursday, Dec. 7, and will be performing a selection of concert music for the Music Performance Assessment in March.
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