The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 26, 2014


By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — FULTON, Ill. — After her retirement, Brenda Woods thought her life would finally slow down, giving her time to relax and enjoy her retreat from the workplace.

It didn’t quite happen that way, she says.

Instead, Woods was recruited to take over as Fulton Township Clerk, secretary of the Fulton Downtown Development Group and as Arts and Crafts chairwoman of the Dutch Days Festival.

“I didn’t come after any of this, they came after me,” she said with a laugh. “But it’s nice to get involved with your community.”

For a little more than a year Woods has been in charge of paying the bills, taking meeting minutes, conducting payroll and assisting in setting up voting booths for elections within the township. Add to that recording all the meeting minutes for the downtown development meetings and the idea of retirement has taken on a whole new meaning.

But she doesn’t stop there. No, Woods decided to aid in planning and setting up Dutch Days this year and while she said she’s enjoyed being a part of the celebration, it has been a lot of hard work.

“They said 80 was the most vendors that we could get and I said I can do better than that,” she said. “I believe this year we have 115 vendors, 108 outside and 15 inside. I worked my tail off.”

Despite this being her first year on the Dutch Days committee, Woods has enjoyed the festival for many years. Although she is originally from Clinton, she moved to Fulton with her husband Jerry about 20 years ago and has been there since. She says she enjoys the quaint atmosphere of the small, river town and loves being a part of a tight-knit community.

Because of that she decided to get involved, although she was reluctant at first. When she finally decided she would commit at least one year to helping with Dutch Days, it came with one slight stipulation — that she would bring something new to the table.

“Change is always good. New ideas are always good,” Woods said. “I wanted to find new vendors because anything will get stagnant if you have the same people doing it. A change in personnel draws in new interest and new visitors.”

Tracking down 115 vendors, some who have been to Dutch Days before and some who haven’t, wasn’t easy though so as the celebration draws closer, the nerves and anticipation are about to the boiling point for Woods.

“It’s kind of like organizing a wedding in a way,” she said. “As we get toward the end it’s sort of climaxing and the excitement is building up. It’s been tough because things are changing but we’re hoping they’re all good changes.”