The Ham Festival Committee decided on March 11 to ask the city to take them under Renaissance on Main’s promotions committee, and the Renaissance board agreed to the arrangement on March 19. The only step left was to get approval from the city council, but it hit a snag as several council members were reluctant to make a decision on the matter right away.
Donna McNichols, the chairwoman for Renaissance on Main, presented the council with booklets of information she had prepared about the festival, which included a list of festival items that the city already paid for every year. She said the city pays $4,500 every year for trash cleanup and for cardboard trash boxes, as well as waiving the $10 license fees for the food vendors. She said that the city always pays overtime for police, Public Works Department workers and Renaissance on Main Director Cindy Sholar. She said they also pay for electricity, water and office supplies for paperwork on the Sunday afternoon parade. She said the insurance for the parade also costs the city $1,500 a year.
McNichols said there would be a few financial benefits for the city and Ham Festival Committee if they were to take on the responsibility. She said total reduction of $8,200 on the insurance policy, $1,000 saved on storage and $2,800 saved on supplies. She said that because the Ham Festival would also qualify as nonprofit, it would allow for corporate donations. She said that if the festival were under city control, this would mean that local businesses could be confident that the festival would continue. She said that the bottom line was that the city was liable for what happens on its streets. This way, the city would at least have input on what happens at the festival, McNichols said. She said that the festival needed to continue because “it keeps our town alive.”
For more on the ongoing Ham Festival controversy, read The Cadiz Record.