Festival's proceeds drop due to heat

COLUMBIANA -- Summer heat and a slumping economy kept crowds from the annual Harvey S. Firestone park festival.
Mary Louise Dicken, city finance director and a festival coordinator, said that though some advertising and concession money is still to come in, proceeds will likely be less than the $14,000 raised last year.
The annual festival was Saturday at Firestone Park.
Last year's festival generated about $25,000, and expenses totaled about $11,000, Dicken said.
She pointed out that various artisans, antique dealers and food vendors said business this year was good at first, but then dwindled as the temperature climbed into the 90s under a bright sun.
"It was warm, but then it got hot very quickly," Dicken said.
"We parked about 300 cars less than last year, so at $3 per car, that's about $900 lost right there.
Dicken said festival proceeds each year go toward various park improvement projects, and the festival committee works with the park board to decide how to spend the money each year.
For the past three years, the money has been set aside to build new restroom facilities at the stadium.
Dicken said about $130,000 is available so far, and proceeds this year will go toward the restroom project as well.
With current plans, about $192,000 is needed, but Dicken said the park board and area contractors who have completed other Firestone
Park projects are working with an architect to possibly redesign the project to reduce the cost.
Plans are to replace the restrooms with larger, handicapped-accessible ones, she said.

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