Wanted: Help saving fall event

February 15, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Lack of organization could cancel an annual event that draws about 10,000 visitors to Sykesville.

No one wants to discontinue the 20-year-old Fall Festival, but neither has anyone volunteered to organize No. 21.

"I am having a difficult time setting up the Fall Festival this year," said Craig Taylor, president of Sykesville Business Association, which has sponsored the past three festivals.

"We don't have a chairman to come forward and take responsibility for running it," he said.

The association has turned the event into a profit-maker, he said. Last year's festival earned about $2,500 for the group's activities.

Councilman Garth Adams, recently appointed liaison to the business association, said, "We did much better drawing people last year. The day came off well and the vendors made more money."

Traditionally scheduled for the first Saturday in October, the festival transforms Main Street into an outdoor market where hundreds of vendors sell food and crafts. The association organizes entertainment and often plans a Civil War re-enactment.

"It's an important event where thousands of people can see where we are and what we are about," Mr. Taylor said.

"A lot of people don't know we are here until they come to the festival and see 47 businesses on Main Street."

Although most association members see the benefit of the festival, they have little time to organize the festival while keeping their businesses open six or seven days a week.

Brian Beck, owner of Beck's Restaurant, volunteered for the duty last year, but business considerations forced him to decline the job this year.

"We just started this business and we need to be here most of the time," said Mr. Beck's brother and business partner Scott Beck. "Chairing an event of this size is time-consuming."

Last year, soon after Mr. Taylor took over as president of the business association, he hired a promotions director to work with the chairman.

"A good business move," Mr. Taylor said. "About 90 percent of our success last year was due to our promoter."

He would like to sign another promoter to a contract for 1994. After spending $100 in advertising, the association received about a dozen responses.

Without an organizer, Mr. Taylor said, he has no one to review the list of applicants who are willing to take on festival promotions. The association pays all expenses, including advertising, and negotiates the promoter's fee, usually a percentage of income from vendors. Mr. Adams said he planned to discuss the situation with the Town Council.

Mr. Taylor has scheduled a meeting for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at Alexandra's Attic on Main Street.

"Anyone interested in working on the festival and the spring flower mart should plan to attend," he said.

Information: 549-3095.

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