The Shriners, based in a facility in Harmar, serve
The group has to find new ideas for fundraising to come up with its nearly
The local chapter is part of the broader
The circus, previously held every year in
"That was actually our major fundraiser every year," he said.
He said the Shriners battled for years with
"Last year, we had to spend an exhaustive amount of money in legal fees just to have the circus," Conrad said.
Conrad said an incident at last year's circus involving a camel that threw several children off its back after becoming spooked had no bearing on the decision to end the circus. He said that incident was handled by insurance companies.
"That's actually the first time that we've ever had any kind of an incident at the circus," he said.
One of their new fundraising ideas is an antique and crafters flea market that started this month. It runs the first Sunday each month through October.
The market is held at the Shriners headquarters at
"I would like to see us hit 50 vendors a month," Conrad said.
The Shriners also started holding "Night at the Races" and "Sportsman's Bash" fundraisers to help replace what the circus brought in for the organization. They also raise money from member dues and events held at the center in Harmar, which is a popular wedding and banquet venue.
Conrad said member dues are less than
"People only have so much disposable income," Conrad said.
He said membership has dropped significantly over the years. At its height, there were about 25,000 members. Today, it's hard to recruit younger members because families have more obligations.
"A lot of people don't have the time," Conrad said.
Details on fundraising events can be found on their website and Facebook page.
"We're trying to do the best we can to continue the tradition," Conrad said.
"It takes an awful lot of money to keep our building up and running."
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