18 Jul Christmas and Other Downtown Celebrations Here to Stay
Several weeks ago, you may have read the misleading headline and/or viewed the equally misleading video clip in the Packet/Gazette implying that Christmas events like Night on the Town, Light up the Night, Night on the Town and the Christmas Parade along with Halloween on Bay Street, First Fridays Downtown, the Shrimp Festiva and Taste of Beaufort might be going way.
NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH and I think it very unfortunate that the copy editors would intentionally put fear in the minds of adults and children that City Council is going to end “community spirited events.” (http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/community/beaufort-news/article158862719.html)
The conversation took place at our City Work Session (where, by the way, votes are not taken nor decisions made without public notice). The conservation was about who would be charged with organizing these important community building events. The issue was not about taking the funding away but about “parking the money” in an appropriate account to be reserved and protected for what is it meant for.
It is TRUE that the City Council did not jump up and down with excitement that the Greater Beaufort Chamber of Commerce, which adopted Mainstreet, Beaufort, USA, when city funding for Mainstreet was cut back a year ago, was requesting what we considered excessive taxpayer subsidies for events which make money enough to cover the costs plus create financial resources for other events that create goodwill but do not make money.
In an effort to straighten this out and perhaps reboot the relationship, the City invited the Chamber/Mainstreet and the newly formed Merchants Association to our work session this evening to continue the discussion. Likely also on the table Council will consider alternative organizational support for what we believe are important community building events.
Regardless, Holiday and other events downtown will continue. The outlying question is what organization or local company will be charged with making these events the best they can be.