Street Fair organizers must plan activities with an eye on the budget

Thank you Cari Enticknap for your letter regarding the Enumclaw Street Fair. Your letter is an excellent opportunity for us to respond and provide the community with an explanation of the vision and goals behind the Enumclaw Street Fair.

The Enumclaw Rotary Club is the main sponsor behind the Enumclaw Street Fair. “We are a charitable organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for residents of the Enumclaw plateau, our region, and the world at large.” This is the vision from the Enumclaw Chapter of Rotary International.

This Fair was originally envisioned to bring visitors to Enumclaw and provide them with a rich, colorful, positive experience that would encourage them to linger for a day and to return in the future. This is a step in promoting tourism which enriches the merchants who have businesses here, in turn spawning economic growth and supports the motto “Eat, Shop, Play” in Enumclaw.

We have been fortunate enough to be contracted by Enumclaw Rotary for the last three years to coordinate a wonderful summer tradition – the Enumclaw Street Fair. Overall, we were thrilled with the event. In its fourth year of existence, we had a record number of vendors (nearly 150), we have vendors that have already called for a 2011 application, we more than doubled our 5k race participants and had almost 400 runners and walkers, we presented a $100 award to the very first Enumclaw Idol contest winner (congratulations Melanina Johnson), merchants have expressed that sales were up and overall the event provided great family fun for all ages.

All the above resulted because of great festival attendance and some of that is attributed to out-of-town guests from the Creation event at the Enumclaw Expo Center the same weekend.

Just as most businesses and other fairs/festivals have experienced financial hardship, the Enumclaw Street Fair is no different. The overall expenses to operate the Street Fair to the level that it has been over the past four year are nearly $40,000. Because the event is free to attend and park, the only way these funds can be recouped is from sponsors, vendor fees and children activity ticket sales of attractions. This year, the Street Fair lost two major sponsors that totaled nearly $5,000. The price tag to rent the large bounce house attractions, face painting, balloon artists, pony rides, tractor train rides, super slide, etc. totaled over $7,900 for a two-day event.

We both grew up in Enumclaw and want our very own children to experience the small town summer fun memories and we truly understand the concept of keeping the costs affordable for families. However, the minimal ticket cost for participants to hopefully cover the rental cost was too risky this year with the additional lack of sponsorship. The event barely broke even in 2009 (which included the $5,000 in additional sponsorship), so taking on the risk of bringing in attractions that total $7,900 did not make financial sense. You are correct, Funtastic Carnival is not a local company, however, they depend on events such as the Street Fair to operate. In turn, Funtastic offers back to the event a percentage of the ticket sales. Before Fantastic even started rolling out of town, they presented Enumclaw Rotary with a check that nearly covered the lacking sponsorship money. Although we acknowledge some lack of support for this activity, there were still many low-cost and free opportunities such as free face painting, free kids’ crafts, free demonstrations, free entertainment, free doll making. As you can see there really was something for everyone.

The Enumclaw Street Fair and other like community events can only continue if they break even. Enumclaw Rotary’s goal is to not only provide a positive community event, but also to profit so they can give it back to the community through the variety of service projects they support. Even though you may have selected to contribute to the carnival rides versus local merchants a percentage of that choice will likely assist Rotary in providing a scholarship to a local high school graduate, fund backpacks for youth, support senior center projects or the like. Way to go and we thank you for your support.

The 2010 Street Fair was a huge success and we would like to thank everyone that made it possible: Enumclaw Rotary, Enumclaw Chrysler Jeep Dodge, Allen’s Furniture, Enumclaw Regional Hospital, Notation Group, Enumclaw Courier-Herald, Mutual of Enumclaw, Bank of America Home Loans, Les Schwab Tires, Aqua Rec, Enumclaw Regional Healthcare Foundation, Creation, Transmogrify, Reliv, Culligan Water and the countless friends, family and volunteers that made it all happen.

Rene’ Popke and Jaclyn VanHoof

Event coordinators

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