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K of C looks to hand off organizing

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Dwindling numbers of active members and the advancing age of those still active is forcing the Dauphin Knights of Columbus to abandon its annual Parade of Lights and day activities which has served as a kickoff to the holiday season for decades.
“We just haven’t got the manpower. And everybody is over 75 years old,” said Grand Knight Ken Yakielashek, adding the Catholic-based fraternal organization has been involved in organizing the parade and accompanying activities for more than 40 years..
“Last night we made the decision. We just can’t do it.
“It has actually been coming for about three or four years.”
The club has been in contact with the City and with the Dauphin and District Chamber of Commerce, but has not received the tangible help that is required.
“They support us, but support is not what we need. We need manpower,” Deputy-Grand Knight Lloyd Hudson said.
“And back when we had 30 or 35 people, it was just five or six hours each, basically,” Hudson added.
Hating to see the day’s activities be lost, the Knights tried to eliminate some of the work required to organize the event by footing the bill last year, rather than canvassing local businesses for support.
The financial burden proved to be too cumbersome, Yakielashek said.
“It cost us about $3,500 bucks. It has never, ever been about making money. It is just a service,” Hudson added.
“We were really fortunate over the years that our costs were as low as they were because we had volunteers. It is the cost of renting the arena, the cost of the candy.”
The day included visits and skating with Santa Claus at the Parkland Recreation Complex, a free movie at Countryfest Community Cinema, free wagon rides provided by Norman Long.
“There is more there than meets the eye,” Yakielashek said.
“In my mind it’s a community event. I think the whole community should be involved in it. It brings you a lot of money that day. There’s a full day of activities that kicks off the season.”
“How many people does it bring into town just because of the parade?” Hudson added.
“I mean how often do you see three or four thousand people lined up the streets? Three. Ukrainian Festival Parade, Dauphin fair and Parade of Lights.”
Whether it is another service club or some other organization wanting to take over, Yakielashek said the club will be willing to help with their expertise.
Anyone interested is asked to call the Knights on 11th Hall at 204-638-7984 and leave a message.
“The Knights are willing to help to set it up but we can’t run it,” Yakielashek said.
“You hate to let a good thing die, but there comes a point in time that you have to let it go.”