|New logo for festival (very cool)|
The Board of Aldermen heard a short report by NC 4th of July Festival Chairman Don Parker at the September 9th meeting. He gave an overview of the festival's massive logistical challenges, the number of volunteers needed to make the event a success, the positive economic benefit to our region, AND express concern that "some aldermen have a problem with the festival and how it is operated."
Aldermen Boguskie, Poole and Potter did express some concerns, such as the impact on local retail merchants, the burden on city staff and services, and the veracity that the event helps our area economically. A committee will be formed (led by Aldermen Poole and Potter) to hear feedback from citizens and merchants, then meet with Mr. Parker (and possibly others involved with the event) to address the concerns raised.
The NC 4th of July Festival has a long relationship with Southport, and now is a good time to evaluate its impact on our area. It's believed by some that the event is coordinated and carried out by the Southport-Oak Island Chamber of Commerce. While the festival is closely aligned with the Chamber, it is organized and operated by a separate entity.
Mr. Parker pointed out that the "life blood" of the festival is the money from the artisan and food booths. Those booths are a big part of the concerns being articulated by local merchants--many who close their shops during the long weekend. This is a serious conflict and it's good that all stakeholder's concerns will be aired out and (hopefully) addressed.
I'll let you know when the first meeting of the committee will take place.