The Brentwood Chamber of Commerce put out an interesting letter earlier this week after several folks from service organizations have complained about not receiving any funds from CornFest after the CornFest, Inc. organization reported a loss of roughly $35,000.
With the reported loss from the event, it has put strain on future events this fall and winter as the Chamber is now seeking donations in the form of sponsorships for the Holiday Parade.
According to CornFest, attendance was down 34% this year. When you compound that with last year where attendance was down 20%, it’s a reduced attendance of 54% over a two year period. This equates to less revenue coming in from the gate, along with soda, beer, and water sales.
The letter states that there are not profit dollars to share with organizations—typically, CornFest are these organizations largest fundraisers of the year. The Chamber was quick to point out that those who volunteer and purchase booths are made aware that they do not guarantee donated funds from revenue.
It should be noted, that the event in its history has donated nearly $750,000 in funding to local groups. Clearly, it’s been a rough couple of years but in their defense, you can build and put in months of effort to put on an event, but you can’t make people come and spend money.
As for the Holiday event, the Brentwood Chamber is now looking for about $9-10k in donations by Mid-September to ensure the parade goes on as planned.
Here is a Letter that went out recently from the Chamber
On Sunday, Sept 8th, 2013 The Chamber hosted a BBQ for the Cornfest 2013 Operating Committee with approximately 20 members in attendance. Hamburgers, sausages, and the normal picnic faire were provided by Sticky Chicken & Ribs.
I asked for feedback and the Brentwood Lions’ Rich Barber started out that the purpose of the service organizations was to provide for the Community in various ways. In this case, to provide a fun time for the whole family & this was certainly accomplished. He felt that in the future the emphasis should be stressed on this, not so much on the organization fundraising. If extra funds were raised for them, great!
Robin stated that the people in her area (the Children’s area) were quite happy & all planned to be back next year, some with additional equipment.
The balance of the comments were all positive.
At this point, I then discussed the results of this year’s event. Everyone was fully aware that attendance was off this year. Dirk & I stressed that some expenses that were out-of-hand last year were sharply controlled & greatly reduced this year & that 1 particular profit center was controlled much better than last year. Dust was much less this year because of specific measures taken to reduce it by application of product specifically designed for this. We also had busing available for the outlying lots.
Unfortunately, because of the reduced attendance & revenue, there was a loss & therefore, there aren’t profit dollars to share with our organization partners. All in attendance were predisposed to this as they were actually there & worked & saw that we were substantially lower in attendance.
I then discussed 3 upcoming events that are Community Events that the Chamber organizes & manages, with the help of Grants to defray the cost. The grants have been sharply reduced this year, which will greatly impact what we can do without additional Community sponsorship!
- State of the City – This event is scheduled for Sept. 25th, 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Community Center. Sponsored by PGE
- Hometown Halloween - This event is scheduled for Oct. 26th, 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. at 1st & Oak Streets. Sponsors of this event is Sutter Delta Medical Center and The City Of Brentwood.
- Holiday Parade is normally the Sat. prior to Thanksgiving. This would be Nov. 23rd at 2 p.m. However, this event is in jeopardy as our grants were cut drastically. We need $5000 in sponsorship money immediately if we are going to make this happen. We have to turn in a TUP form to the City by Sept. 23rd for them to be able to do their process. That costs us almost $1000 at that time & it is non-refundable. The amount we need is after a 10% reduction of our costs from last year. Over 1/2 the costs are mandated or safety costs that we cannot reduce. If we could get $500 sponsorships from 10 businesses or individuals, we could still put this on. We need to have these funds in-place by Sept. 19th before I can give the go ahead to proceed.
It is important for everyone to realize that Chamber Staff or Volunteer costs cannot be charged against these grants. The Chamber spends $15,000 to $20,000 on Staff costs to put on the various Community related events, NOT INCLUDING CORNFEST! We do not have the funds to put on this event with the limited funding we have this year. If you would like to help with these costs, please contact Jilda at 634-3344 or email her at Jilda@brentwoodchamber.com . PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT HER WITH COST SAVING IDEAS AS WE HAVE already done this & are continuing to do so.