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Greenwood still planning for summer concerts and End of Summer Fest

Greenwood still planning for summer  concerts and End of Summer Fest Greenwood still planning for summer  concerts and End of Summer Fest

Plans for Greenwood’s July Concerts in the Park series and the Sept. 12 End of Summer Fest are still in the works, pending developments with the coronoavirus pandemic and eventual relaxing of restrictions against public gatherings. The City Council dealt with both events at a recent meeting on April 15, reiterating its overall support for the End of Summer Fest despite a recent funding cut and instructing the Concerts in the Park organizer to proceed with plans for the events.

Several End of Summer Fest Committee members spoke with the Council during the telephonic meeting, and asked for clarification of the city’s support for the event. During 2020 budget work, the city cut some of the funding it usually provides for the celebration, and committee members had also heard of complaints from residents regading the city’s involvement.

Committee member Sarah Shaw said the End of Summer Fest has been a city-sponsored function not only since it moved to a 1-day event on the second Saturday of September, but when it was held earlier in the summer and as far back as when it was known as Dairy Days. The End of Summer Fest runs mainly on its own financially and earned a slight profit for the first time in 2019, but also relies on some city help. The Council cut the End of Summer Fest annual donation this year, due to tight finances in general.

“Our Finance Committee found itself in a tight spot this year and we had to do a lot of cuts,” said Council member Tracy Nelson.

Shaw said it would have helped End of Summer Fest organizers to have been advised that funding might be reduced. The event is not yet strong enough to run without some city monetary backing.

“At this point, we can’t function without city help,” Shaw said.

Recent End of Summer Fests have included a car show, an afternoon parade, live music on Main Street and in the TrueValue parking lot, and games for the kids. It included a truck pull at one time, and that event may be brought back.

Shaw said planners are trying to revive the event and strengthen it to the point where it once was, and as other area community festivals are.

“The Loyal Corn Fest has been a strong thing for a long, long, long time,” Shaw said. “We’re trying to build ours back up. We do appreciate all the help the city gives us.”

Committee member Lindsey Lissner said this year’s End of Summer Fest could be important as it may be the community’s first chance to celebrate together after COVID restrictions are eased.

“It’s definitely going to be bringing our community back together,” she said.

Committee member Lindsey Stump said it’s vital for the city and groups to coordinate efforts to make such events stronger.

“If we don’t work together that’s never going to happen,” she said. “We all need to be able to work together to make this community better.”

The Council clarified that End of Summer Fest is something it supports. It did ask for changes in accounting practices so the city knows where the festival is at financially, and a survey of Main Street businesses and residents to find out how the event impacts them.

Mayor Jim Schecklman said the city wants to help make End of Summer Fest successful.

“I think everybody agrees we want to see this stuff thrive,” he said.

In regard to the July Concerts in the Park series, organizer Sharon Rogers asked the Council if it wants her to continue to plan for them. As of last week, she said, two bands had pulled out of their dates. Plans are in the works for music on five Wednesdays in July.

“I’m just reluctant to go forward,” Rogers said. “It’s a lot of work to put it on if no one can come because of public distancing. You guys pay for it with our tax dollars. What do you want me to do?”

With none of the bands requiring non-refundable deposits, the Council advised Rogers to try to find two replacement bands. There is still time between now and July, and the governor’s latest “Safer at Home” order as of now is to expire on May 26.

Rogers said the concerts have become popular events again in recent summers.

“We came back really strong last year with over 100 attendance every week,” she said. “We’ve got some good bands. We’ve got more than 100 people who came every night. That hasn’t happened in more than 20 years. That’s because we’ve got some good bands.”

In other action, the Council approved bids for final work on the Jones Street reconstruction/extension it started last summer. The city will spend $125,272 to pave the street that runs past Adult Development Services and $63,500 for curb and gutter installation.