Volunteers are key to the Burnham Jamboree

To the editor:

Fifty years ago, the Burnham Jamboree was started. The year was 1963, but the idea started from 1961, two years before at the Burnham Golden Jubilee, Burnham Borough’s 50th year celebration. The Burnham Lions and Burnham Fire Co. participated in the jubilee celebration, helping in any way they could to make sure the borough celebration was outstanding for that year including a parade of all parades.

In 1962, everything went back to the individual festivals held by each organization. After working together the year before, the groups met and decided to have one large festival instead of each group doing their own small festival.

So, starting in 1963, the Burnham Fire Co. and Burnham Lions started the Burnham Jamboree. But where they would hold it, in 1961, the jubilee was held on the streets of Burnham. They didn’t want to do that, so after talking and asking for suggestions, the first jamboree would be held at Kovalchick’s ground (where the Weis store was, now Ollie’s) on Logan Boulevard. They held it for a year then moved it behind Luba’s and in from of the sewer plant area. They were there for a few years, and after a discussion with the local health department, decided they needed to move again.

The ground on top of Fourth Avenue Playground is, this ground and the area where the Burnham Lions Building and pool is now was given to the Burnham Lions from Standard Steel. The Lions helped to set up the playground area then gave Burnham Borough the ground where the jamboree is held each year with the stipulation that it be able to use this ground for three weeks each year for the jamboree.

After a few years, the group decided they needed to build a building to house items used each year and to use as an office for that time. So, the building on the grounds was build by the jamboree to house the bingo stands, game tables, food stands, barbecued chicken items and garbage cans that they use each year.

As the years moved on, and each group member’s priority changed, and the community idea of festivals changed, the committee voted to allow space to be rented to outside vendors with less firemen and Lions stands. Some of our vendors have been with us for many years: Bartlebaugh’s (our ride people), Packers Concessions, Rubles Concessions are just a few.

We don’t want to forget our Burnham Fire Police that direct traffic and Burnham Boy Scout Troop Six, who help clean up after it closes on Sunday and our Burnham Borough road group that help doing the week with clean up. They all deserve a great big thank you for jobs well done.

As you may have come up with, the Burnham Jamboree would not have lasted for 50 years without all the volunteers we have in our community. This is an all-volunteer function and what money is raised goes to support the Burnham Lions, Burnham Fire Co., Burnham Fire Police and Burnham Boy Scout Troop Six.

The 50th Burnham Jamboree is set to open at 6 p.m. May 28 and run through June 1.

Bonnie McCurry

Burnham Jamboree Committee