St. Charles aldermen to hear competing RiverFest proposals

Published: Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 5:37 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 6:52 a.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – When Pride of the Fox decided to relinquish control and sponsorship of RiverFest, another organization stepped up to helm the annual June event and requested financial support from the city.

But by the time City Administrator Brian Townsend approached aldermen about the request, Pride of the Fox’s executive director had expressed interest to again organize the festival.

“From the city’s position, I don’t think we have a position one way or the other,” Townsend told the Government Operations Committee.

The city needs to know how much money to allocate to the event, he said, noting staff is working on the 2013-14 budget.

Aldermen are expected to hear proposals from both groups Tuesday.

In a letter dated Jan. 2, St. Charles Festival Committee Chairman Tom Anderson said the organization profitably ran RiverFest for 20 years and transferred management – and $30,000 – to Pride of the Fox after the 2009 festival.

The festival committee is asking the city for its annual budget allocation of $18,000 to support the festival along with a one-time support grant of $15,000. The grant would make up a shortfall between funds given to Pride of the Fox in 2009 and the funds expected to be returned to the St. Charles Festival Committee, Anderson wrote.

Townsend said the proposal from the other candidate treated the extra funds more as an annual partnership.

RiverFest began in 1982 with one venue and six vendors. Last year, the three-day festival boasted more than 200 vendors and nine venues, including Lincoln Park, North Third Street, Pottawatomie Park, the riverwalk, the municipal center and First Street. It has featured live music, dragon boat races and, among other activities, a carnival.

Alderman Cliff Carrignan questioned the size of the festival and suggested scaling it down, with perhaps more of a St. Charles focus.

“I thought this was one of the more challenging festivals,” he said.

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