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Bates: Coping with stress is part of the job

Managing Fiesta Days is stressful.

It is a high-risk event beset with conditions out of my control. There is the weather, key volunteer’s illness, entertainer tantrums, amusement rides failing, surprise expenses, miscommunication and on and on. Dealing with a multitude of these issues at the same time, I sense the set off of an exploding cannon within me. After all, “the buck stops with me.” Yet, there are some techniques I have learned along the way to handle the stress that comes with this major event.

First, when a stressful situation arises, I set toward a quick examination. Who are the people to aid, advise and gather? What can be done quickly? Can something good be done for all concerned? All of that is thought through and accomplished in seconds.

Secondly, when Fiesta Days activities accelerate, I manage my time. Anything that can be put off until after Fiesta Days is put off.

Next, I watch my rest. With late night hours, I make certain I sleep in a bit later than normal.

Fourth, I have an outlet – something to look forward to. This year it is taking my grandson, Tristan, on a short trip.

Fifth, I have a couple of trusted friends and family members to call when things get overwhelming. We pray and laugh together, I gain encouragement and, after the call, the situation looks brighter.

Lastly and most important, I review the joy of Fiesta Days: Working with great volunteers who have become like family, watching the children and adults have a great time and appreciating the coming together of a community producing and enjoying this glorious, traditional event that I am blessed to be part of.

This week is my favorite part of Fiesta Days. Much of the activity is centered in Veterans Park. 

Larry Leafblad’s The Scotch Lads Band will be performing Thursday at the Concert in the Park. The timeless band will perform after the Parade Marshal ceremony celebrating Pat Wirtz.

At their peak 50 years ago, the Scotch Lads were considered the top pick for weddings, school events, corporate dances and concerts. Hugely popular in the McHenry area, the band specializes in the hits of the 1960s and 1970s. The Fiesta Days committee thanks the city of McHenry for bringing Larry Leafblad’s The Scotch Lads to Fiesta Days. The group is a perfect fit for this event because as the band says, “Everybody has a good time when the Scotch Lads come to town.”

The Children’s Ice Cream Social is from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday. It will feature entertainment, including an animal show, sword swallower and the Strikers. Five dollar hand stamps are available for all inflatables, games, face painting and ice cream.  

Sidewalk Sales with Arts and Crafts in the Park will be Saturday. On hand will be some of the midwest’s finest hand crafters. Riverview Theatre Company will provide a Shakespeare Festival offering that gives a glimpse back in time to the world of Tudor England.

The climax of Fiesta Days is the parade Saturday. Wacky wheeler, a stilt walker, Jesse White’s Power Tumblers, horse stunt riders, the Strikers and others will be in the parade.

Following the parade in Veterans Park, the Drum and Bugle Corps will entertain.

Ladies should be sure to sign up for the WINGs “Online Reputation” discussion July 23.

And the next mixer is July 31 at Superior Felt and Filtration.

• Kay Rial Bates is president of the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce. Reach her at 815-385-4300 or visit mchenrychamber.com.

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