Holding the event at the same time as the county fair was a slip, a backer says.
By NORMAN LEIGH
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
SALEM -- Organizers of this year's inaugural frog-jumping contest aren't letting a lukewarm start deter them.
The contest will be back next year, Greg Shaffer, a Lions Club member and key organizer of the event, said Tuesday.
He acknowledged that he was disappointed in the response to the Aug. 3 contest. About 80 people showed up to watch, and 30 people entered about 70 frogs.
Shaffer said he had hoped for larger numbers of onlookers and competitors.
The Lions Club staged the contest as a fund-raiser. But after all the expenses of the event were paid for, the organization ended up about $30 in the red, Shaffer said.
He's putting blame for the dismal showing on the club's error in having the contest while the Columbiana County fair was in progress.
The fair is one of the county's biggest draws, he said. In hindsight, scheduling the frog-jumping contest at the same time was just asking for trouble, Shaffer said.
"The date was a big mistake," he added.
The conflict cost the frog-jumping visitors, he said. It may also have caused it to lose potential sponsors, such as radio stations, which chose to promote the fair instead.
Next year, the club wants to have the contest earlier in the summer to avoid a conflict with the fair.
Shaffer said the Lions also are considering a different venue.
This year's event was in the municipal parking lot near Penn Avenue and Pershing Street.
There was little shade available in the lot.
Next year, the Lions will seek permission to stage the event in the city's Centennial Park known, in part, for its picnic pavilions and shade.
"It might be a little more comfortable," Shaffer said.
Also being discussed is a proposal to have two frog-jumping contests next year. One would be in early summer in Salem. The other could be at the county fair, Shaffer said.