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Board to Discuss Future of Wentzville's Wabash Days, Holiday Night Lights

City staff asked that the board consider not just the profit and loss numbers, but the economic impact to the city and what these events provide to residents.

At Wednesday night's work session, the Wentzville Board of Aldermen will discuss the future of the city's special events, including Wabash Days, Holiday Night Lights and the 4th of July celebration.

When Wabash Days was first established, the intent was to turn it over to a local organization. However, no organization came forward and this year's event will be the mark the tenth anniversary of Wabash Days.

"By their very nature, special events hosted by a City Municipality have less ability to be profitable than other hosting entities. This is partially due to the cost in staffing an event with public/local government employees rather than utilization of organizations who volunteer hours to work the event(s)," city documents reported.

Wabash Days has lost $95,090.93 over the past nine years, but city staff report that the figure is misleading because staff costs to the event have not always been tracked.

Staff went on to mention that no studies have measured the economic impact  of special events to the city or the events' influence on the marketability of the city.

Suggestions for enhancing the 2013 event include the addition of a Little Miss Wabash contest, a barbecue cookoff or food truck event. Expenses could be decreased by dropping the carnival rides.

The only special event to show a profit in 2012 was Holiday Night Lights. Profit/loss figures for city events were reported as:

  • Holiday Night Lights - $975.60 profit
  • The Easter Eggstravaganza - $1493.36 loss
  • Movie in the Park (June) - 905.06 loss
  • Sunset Concert - $4,719.84 loss
  • Independence Day - $31,969.65 loss
  • Movie in the Park (August) - $684.83 loss
  • Soapbox Derby - $3,279.06 loss
  • Halloween Happenings¬† - $2,925.10 loss

But along with the costs, city staff also asked the board to consider "what is not measured . . . the impact to the City, community and the citizens who participate in the events."

The board will discuss whether to continue hosting these events or eliminate certain events.

Tamara Duncan February 06, 2013 at 02:57 PM
My husband and I went to the sunset concert last summer. We had a blast, and it was something we'd never have done if it wasn't free and right here in town. Thank you, Parks Department!
Tamara Duncan February 06, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Thanks for the photos, Kent! Love the car show pic. If you've been to the Wentzville Facebook page, you can see that I love the old classic cars.
Mindy Weeks February 06, 2013 at 06:32 PM
If the city is interested in improving the business growth in the downtown area, events such as Wabash Days are a terrific way to do it! Our shop looks forward to the weekend every year as it brings many Wentzville residents to the downtown area that may not normally come and may not be aware of the businesses located in the city village. Fireside Treasures would be a strong supporter of continuing the Wabash festivities.
Matt Meester February 07, 2013 at 12:14 AM
Other than the wonderful school system, what makes Wentzville the place 2 live is the fact that our local politicians haven't forgotten that it is all about the community, not the city. I know it may seems simple, but our current administration of the federal government has forgotten that it is about being American and not about the Liberal government. I am proud to call Wentzville, MO my home because of the unique aspect of our leaders focused on enriching the lives of the citizens rather than lining the city coffers. Our schools are already the best. Our police , fire and emergency folks our the best, our population can not be beaten, our parks are becoming the best. Why settle, or take the air out of, our events. If anything we need to increase and strengthen the events we hold.
Jerry Scooterman February 08, 2013 at 05:01 AM
As an Special Event planner for over 23 years it's very clear to me that these types of events require a certain amount of infrastructure, city services and labor to stage. When you couple entertainment or holiday overtime pay, expenses add up and yet there is very little revenue stream coming in aside from booths, carnival or entry fees. Perhaps the city could look at integrating a robust sponsorship program to help underwrite some of the expenses. It would have to be a multi platform structure by which the sponsor would see benefit, but it is possible and both community and partners win. Perhaps the city could even develop a multi event partnership whereby a local or regional business would receive benefits from across a wide variety of events. True, it's a marketing coordination, but certainly not rocket science. Position could reside in the Park Department as a full time job and probably pay for itself within the first yearly sponsorship secured.

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