Town & Country Festival committee looking for funds 2.27

Written by David Green.

Morenci’s Town and Country Festival will go on as planned June 27-29, but what about the next year?

Festival committee members aren’t sure what’s in store for the future.

“We’re at a crossroads,” said committee member Barb Foss. “There might very well not be a festival next year.”

The group is looking for more volunteers, more ideas and more sources of revenue.

“We want the public to know that it costs from $10,000 to $15,000 annually,” Foss said, “and most of what we offer doesn’t pay a return.”

There’s no admission charged for fireworks, for example, and the cost of the show is around $5,000. A few thousand dollars are spent on bands and those are also offered free.

Foss said it’s difficult finding a carnival that will sign a contract without a guaranteed minimum profit. The agreements bring the festival little, if any, income.

“The rodeo was successful last year,” she said, “but we barely covered their fee.”

Foss says committee members approach the same local businesses over and over for donations and she knows there are limits to that endeavor, especially during the existing tough economy.

“We’re all very concerned,” she said. “We don’t know how we’re going to get more money.”

She said the committee is very open to listening to ideas, not only for fund raising but also for making the festival better. She’s certain there are people in the area with good ideas, but they seldom step forward to present them.

“They don’t have to take charge of it,” she said, “just give us the ideas.”

This year’s festival will take on more of a family day atmosphere on Sunday. There will be no mud bog, but a BMX bicycle race is planned. The chicken dinner might be moved to Sunday, also, she said.

“We’re going to try some different things to bring more people into the park.”

The festival committee works at Michigan International Speedway for all three races. With enough help, Foss said, those events are very big fund raisers.

The group is allotted space for 18 workers for each race. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old. The committee is looking for people to work in at least one of the three races.

The committee meets at 7 p.m. on the third Sunday of the month. Anyone from the public is welcome to attend.

For more information or to offer services, call Foss at 517/458-2319 or Sue Snyder at 458-2047.

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