Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Council gives Francisco's Farm $1,000, not the $3,000 that the arts festival requested for this year

The Midway City Council voted Monday to contribute $1,000 toward the Francisco's Farm Art Festival for next year, not the $3,000 that the festival committee had requested for this year.

Mayor Tom Bozarth said city workers would provide the assistance the committee had requested, but "I think we should raise the money from private donations, and I'll be willing to make a contribution." He said later, "We'll try to get people to donate."

Council Members Sara Hicks and Dan Roller, who are on the festival committee, abstained from voting but took part in the discussion beforehand.

Roller said the festival is being done entirely by volunteers, and the only compensation has been for the two jurors who judged the would-be exhibitors. Hicks, who is president of Midway Renaissance, the festival's main sponsor, said it is paying Midway College for use of its facilities. "They'll have their own security, but we'll also provide our own security," she said. "There's just a small core of us putting it on and we're all doing it on our own time."

Hicks said any profits from the festival "will go to something in the city of Midway," and added later, "Last year we ran in the red; the year before we gave $5,500 to the Homeplace" at Midway, the senior living community being built across Stephens Street from the college.

Council Member Grayson Vandegrift complimented Hicks for the group's efforts, including bringing the festival back to the college after three years at Equus Run Vineyards, a site that did not sit well with some Midway merchants.

A $3,000 gift would have made the city a "silver sponsor" listed on promotional materials and having a free sponsor tent. Hicks noted that the city was once a sponsor of the 10-year-old festival. Bozarth said that for the festival's first year, the city issued a $5,000 check "that didn't come before the council," on which he served at the time.

Hicks noted that the festival needs T-shirts, and suggested that the city could help with that and use them to promote the city. Bozarth replied, "I think that's a little bit outside the request" that the festival committee submitted for the April 3 council meeting, at which the request was deferred.

Vandegrift said, "I think donating to that festival is money well spent. It stays in the community." Council Member Sharon Turner said, "Every donation we give open the requests for more donations." Vandegrift said Francisco's Farm and the Midway Fall Festival, staged by the merchants, differ from other events, but the latter doesn't need city money. Turner said the city needs criteria to govern such donations. She and Vandegrift are running to succeed Bozarth, who is not seeking re-election.

Hicks suggested, "What would be ideal is if the city could become a partner for 2015." Bozarth noted that the city had donated $1,000 to Midway College for speakers, and it could "start with that" for Francisco's Farm. Turner then made a motion to donate $1,000 for the 2015 festival. The vote was 4-0.

No comments: