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Current Council Agenda and Past Meeting Information



Meeting Date: January 23, 2007

Subject/Title: Receive and file the 2006 Cornfest Evaluation Report

Prepared by: Gina Rozenski, Redevelopment Manager

Submitted by: Howard Sword, Community Development Director

Receive and file the 2006 Cornfest Evaluation Report.

In May 2006, the City Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce regarding the 2006 Cornfest event. The MOU required that a post-event evaluation be provided to the Council.

The purpose of the three-day, annual Cornfest event remains community-based as a major funding source for local service organizations (Rotary, Soroptomists, Kiwanis, etc.) and local non-profits (Delta Resource Center, school organizations, cancer society, etc). It also provides significant revenue for the Chamber to continue its annual programs and projects that support Brentwood’s business community, and provides a unique opportunity to showcase our Downtown.

Prior to 2006, the City provided police and public works services to support the Chamber-sponsored Cornfest event, held each July in Downtown Brentwood. The regional nature of the event required ever-increasing police services to maintain safety levels necessary to protect the event attendees, vendors, operators and property. Most importantly, police activities were necessary to protect the City from unknown liability associated with an event of this nature in our Downtown and City Park. Services provided by the City’s Public Works Department range from recycling efforts to clean-up and repair of City Park.

The City did not charge the Chamber for the full cost of City-support services for the Cornfest in the past. However, free City services were no longer financially feasible. In turn, the Chamber of Commerce wanted to understand, in advance, the range of costs expected from the City in order to effectively manage their budget and to determine funding levels to local service and non-profit organizations.

To avoid past practice where the City did not receive full reimbursement from the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce for the costs associated with supporting the annual Cornfest event, in May 2006, the City and Chamber approved the first Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) for Cornfest functions and activities. The MOU outlined the role and responsibilities of the parties and the scope of City services and estimated costs. The MOU also outlined a restructure of the Cornfest from a regional event which encourages large crowds requiring heavy police services to a more community, family-friendly event that resulted in a reduction of City services.

Highlights of the structural changes to the Cornfest starting in 2006 that the City and Chamber agreed upon include:

• Chamber Board appointed themselves as Cornfest Board holding monthly meetings separate from the Chamber Board meeting. This is significantly different from past Cornfest administration where a Cornfest “president” was elected with little oversight of activities, music and budget. This change provided an overall tighter focus and control of the event.

• Changed the focus of Cornfest to a community event for Brentwood citizens rather than a regional event.

• Scheduled the fireworks on Friday night, rather than Saturday night, where all-day drinking is avoided prior to a “grand finale” occurrence.

• Event closed by 10:30 pm on Friday, 8pm on Saturday, and 6pm on Sunday.

• Stopped beer/wine sales 1 hour before closing. Increased the cost of beer/wine and served in smaller glasses.

• The event was not advertised on regional radio or newspapers.

• The music selection changed at 5:00 pm each afternoon with no major headliners or heavy rock/rap.

The loss of 2-1/2 hours from Saturday night and moving the fireworks to Friday night translated to a safer environment and reduced police services. Traditionally our Brentwood citizens attend on Friday to avoid the summer heat and crowds on Saturday and Sunday. Friday night fireworks encouraged and rewarded this family-friendly evening. The Chamber reports that Friday night fireworks resulted in a significant increase in attendance by 2.5 times the normal, and reduced the Saturday attendance by half. Sunday attendance was about the same as the previous year. Overall the attendance was lower by almost 9400; hence, the goal to make the 2006 Cornfest a community event was achieved.

The discontinuance of liquor sales before nightfall and the change of music type for the event created a more family-friendly atmosphere and discouraged regional attendance. The 2006 beer revenues were about the same as 2005, but the volume decreased by 33%. Closing Saturday and Sunday during daylight hours helped police to monitor and control unwanted groups that spill-over into local bars. Police reported NO incidents requiring police actions during the 2006 Cornfest - a first!

A strategically intentional addition for 2006 was the participation of our Parks & Recreation Department to manage and operate the recreational activities on Saturday, to be known as Family-Fun Day. This day showcased family and children recreational activities, games and crafts.

Bottom line: the 2006 revenues and expenses were both lower than 2005, but the net profits were higher. Quite a success . . . even more so for the local service and charitable organizations that rely on the Cornfest as a major fund-raiser.

Both parties agreed that the MOU and the open dialogue to revise the past implied cooperation between the parties to a relationship of intended partnership were the best to date, and the parties agree that the 2006 Cornfest was equally the best. Parties hope to begin discussions for the 2007 Cornfest next month, and will identify areas of improvement to make the 2007 event better than the last.

An invoice in the amount of $38,690 for City services, such as police, solid waste and parks /recreation, directly associated with the 2006 Cornfest event was paid in full by the Chamber. The City of Brentwood contributed $20,000 to the Chamber of Commerce towards the cost of fireworks as well as waiving approximately $8,700 of parks/recreation fees and services.

Attachment: Brentwood Chamber of Commerce’s 2006 Cornfest Post Evaluation Report


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