The Festival Business

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Although crowds fill the Indian Summer Festival every year, talking about the festival doesn't exactly please the crowd at the marketing committee for the Tourist Development Council and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

A difference of opinion stands between the board members and the staff at the CVB. Bob Warren is the director of the TDC/CVB and says he hopes the festival is here to stay.

"Staff feels we have worked very hard to make improvements in the Indian Summer Festival, monies we have spent are considered to be an investment."

Bill Spann, a member of the board, is concerned about the cost to run the festival.

"We have to look at this realistically. An event can't lose $200,000 in one week and justify itself."

And in the numbers lie the problem: this organization only has so much money to spend each year. Spring break is an obvious target along with getting families to choose the beach as their summer vacation destination.

Is it worth it to spend money advertising and hosting an event that isn't paying for itself? Cody Kahn, the chairman of the board, says the money spent for the festival might be better used in other areas of advertising.

"You can invest the same amount of money in different forms of advertising and marketing and see a much higher yield on that."

Warren agrees, saying if they give the festival some time it will return a beneficial profit.

"It has to get to a point it makes money, we've taken it from a not so quality event to a very high quality event."

The board might still choose to allow a private company to take over operation of the festival, something the staff at the CVB hope will be postponed at least a year, but for now this event remains on the cutting board for inspection and approval by other board members at the next meeting.