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Food Bank Fund-raiser Becomes Financial Fiasco

August 26, 1986

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) _ Three families who put on a charity festival to keep food banks open this winter said they may wind up losing everything because relatively few people bought tickets.

The organizers of Neighbors’ Jamboree ’86 had expected 25,000 people to attend the three-day event last weekend at the Clark County Fairgrounds just north of Portland, Ore. But only about 200 people out of the 1,360 families who bought advance tickets showed up.

The families, who had hoped to pay for the event with the proceeds, are stuck with bills totaling about $20,000 and due in a month.

″We’re going to lose everything,″ said Kay Zirkel. As collateral for the purchases, she and her husband put of most of their belongings, including their cars, furniture, jewelry and art.

The organizers don’t know why so few people came despite good publicity.

″We really don’t understand it,″ said Ms. Zirkel. ″With Hands Across America and all the work that’s been done, we thought people would want to help the food banks and keep them open.″

The festival, which had been in the works for more than a year, featured a horse show, flea market and performances by country singer Rex Allen Jr. and others, she said.

Caravan Productions of Beaverton, Ore., sold more than 1,300 $20 family passes to the three-day event, but kept an 80 percent commission, she said.

Caravan seemed the best promoter to use because other companies wanted an 88-90 percent commission, Ms. Zirkel said.

News of the 80 percent commission enraged many ticketbuyers, who did not know so little of the money was going to the food banks, Ms. Zirkel said.

Despite the debt, Ms. Zirkel believes she can still help the food banks.

″If each business in Clark County gave us $10, we’d have it clear,″ Zirkel said. ″If each business gave us $25, there wouldn’t be a food bank that would have to close this winter.

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