Festival in the Pines Sponsorship
This is the time of year when I start calling on businesses who have been sponsors of Festival in the Pines, the family-oriented event I have owned and operated since 1996. Unfortunately, since 2005, I have not had the opportunity to approach Midwest Coca Cola to be a major beverage sponsor of my two-day festival since the City of Eau Claire has a binding agreement to only allow the sale of Coke products in Carson Park and at Hobbs Ice Arena.
Prior to that time, Coca Cola was a large cash sponsor of Festival in the Pines so that only their pop and water was sold in Carson Park. As it stands now, Coca Cola has no reason to provide sponsorship dollars to the festival since I have to sell their product to my customers.
I am in favor of the City of Eau Claire entering into exclusive agreements with businesses to increase revenue and decrease the cost of doing business on city property. However, as a small business owner, it is frustrating to be told that I have to sell a particular product.
For the past few years, while we were in a recession, I doubt I could have found a beverage provider who was willing to be a major sponsor of Festival in the Pines. However, as the economy shows signs of recovery, I feel that I should at least have the option to increase my revenues so I can maintain the five dollar admission fee.
Although most all festivals are mutually exclusive of one another, each event has goals to raise the necessary revenue through a variety of ways to ensure longevity. The most obvious way to enhance the revenue stream of an outdoor event is to increase sponsorship dollars. This way, if the event gets negatively affected by bad weather, there is a better chance that the bills will get paid.
One of the biggest public misconceptions is that all festivals make an obscene amount of money. If that were the case, then this area would not be witnessing the demise of numerous fairs and festivals that are apparently too expensive to host.
In the coming weeks, I will be asked to sign a five year agreement with the City of Eau Claire to use Carson Park for Festival in the Pines. If I sign the contract, I will be saddled with the pouring rights agreement that the city has negotiated with Coca Cola. Somehow that seems unfair.
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