In about six months, the Cultural Diversity forum will attempt the highly possible — pull off a diverse festival bringing all factions of Walker County together. The forum met Monday night at St. Joseph Catholic Church in New Waverly and went over the good, the bad and the unfinished business.

“Our next step this fall will be to write and refine our bylaws,” Mac Woodward said. “We’re also applying for official nonprofit status. We can accept tax deducible donations and contributions now, though.”

At February’s Festival of United Cultures, people of all races and social backgrounds came to the Walker County Fairgrounds for food and fun, but this year has the potential to be even better, according to Mary Vela Novark.

“It’s going to be a lot more organized,” she said. “We’re going to have one table per organization. We’ve had a lot of feedback from February’s dinner, and we just want to be better organized this year.”

One of the main issues in February was the lack of paper goods. Food filled tables across the width of the fairgrounds office, but plates, forks and spoons were in short supply.

“If one church or organization donated all paper goods — heavy duty plates, cups, paper towels, that would be good,” Morris Johnson said.

Fund-raising is a major issue this year, as the Walker County Fairgrounds cost $800 to rent and organizers are hoping to rent a larger stage and sound equipment.

“We’ve got to have some donations,” Johnson said. “We need to do a cost estimate.”

There was talk of letting individual churches raise all funds, but it was decided to take donation requests to the public because area churches provide all food for the event.

“My concern is we don’t want to eliminate anyone who wants to contribute,” Richard Watkins said.

While tickets were available free for the last festival, organizers decided to eliminate the need for a ticket for the 2007 event.

“It was a good idea to estimate the number of people we were going to have in February,” David Prier said. “I think we have a good idea now.”

Other business discussed included:

• The group needs someone to volunteer to be secretary for the meetings.

• Youth are encouraged to attend. Wendell Baker said more youth participation would be a great advantage. The October meeting is designated as youth night.

• Richard Montgomery, superintendent of Huntsville Independent School District, said this organization’s goals fall in line with the district’s goals. “Now is the time to put action to those words.”

• There will be a county-wide prayer meeting on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. at Greater Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville. All races and religious backgrounds are invited to attend. While the event will be held on Sept. 11, it wasn’t designed around the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

For more information, or to volunteer, contact Mary Vela Novark at (936) 295-5700.

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