Mayfest Waves On
A sick pig can’t keep a friendly lion like Mayfest down. The City of Fort Worth’s devastating decision to cancel this year’s event due to swine flu concerns had an interesting effect on people: Residents realized how much they’ve enjoyed the event since its 1973 debut and that they want it to continue. And they’re showing appreciation with their wallets as well as their words - which is important, since the last-minute cancellation really left the event in deep water financially.
Mayfest Inc. recently received donations of more than $45,000 from local groups, including The Ryan Foundation, the William E. Scott Foundation, the Adeline & George McQueen Foundation, Target, and the Ben E. Keith Company. And the festival’s executive director expects that amount to double by next week, as other foundations step forward.
“Mayfest isn’t only a festival. It’s a community event that brings people together in a safe environment,” director Elizabeth Basham said. “That’s what we’re hearing from people – it’s part of our tradition.”
In years past, the festival normally received about $30,000 in grants. “This is unprecedented for Mayfest to have this much in grant money this soon,” Mayfest Inc.’s marketing manager Shannon Baumgardner said. “This is just showing how much the community is supporting us and wants Mayfest to continue.”
Basham announced several months ago that Mayfest would rebound from its 2009 cancellation – and huge financial losses – and hold another event in 2010 (“Mayfest: Maybe Not,” Aug. 26, 2009). Mayfest Inc.’s reserve operating fund of about $200,000 would help re-launch the festival in 2010, officials said then, but whether the event could raise enough money to keep it alive beyond that was unclear.
Now it looks as if Mayfest is here to stay for sure … almost. “If we continue to have this support from the community, it is definite that we will be able to continue for the future,” Basham said, “but we’re still working for that.”
Static just wishes the Weekly scribes would outrage more folks so that there would be a letters page every week and this column wouldn’t have to occasionally host the Corrections Corner. However, reality bites and duty calls.
A Dec. 16 story “Shift in the Shale,” got one guest speaker wrong for the January meeting of the North Central Texas Communities Alliance at the Trinity Hotel. True, DISH Mayor Calvin Tillman will appear. But his fellow speaker that night will be State Sen. Wendy Davis, not gas-well-embattled farm owner Deborah Rogers.
That story also made alliance founder Esther McElfish into an Arlington resident. Actually, she lives in Fort Worth.
The Weekly regrets the errors.