Archive for Thursday, November 3, 2005

City’s festival lineup changes

November 3, 2005

Changes are in store for Lansing DAZE next year as city officials work to make the festival more palatable for visitors, vendors and volunteers.

Shanae Randolph, director of economic development/Convention and Visitors Bureau, outlined the changes in a study session last week with the Lansing City Council.

Among the changes:

¢ The festival would be observed over a four-day period, but the only Sunday event would be the Lansing DAZE 5-K run. The festival's grand finale would be the Saturday night fireworks and entertainment show.

"We've had it a Sunday event like the past three years, and each year the Sunday has been just not that great," Randolph told council members. "Due to all the staff and volunteers that put all their time on Sunday, we just felt it wasn't worth it to extend it."

¢ The Brews, Blues and BBQ contest, which had its inaugural appearance at this year's Lansing DAZE, will become an event all its own on the first weekend in May.

Randolph said the contest was "very successful" this year. But in an effort to increase interest and to gain sanctioning from the Kansas City Barbecue Society, the city will sponsor the contest as an independent event Friday and Saturday, May 5 and 6. The contest also will be moved from the soccer fields below City Hall to Centre Drive.

In addition, the contest also will have a "Taster's Choice" feature in which members of the public can pay $5 for the opportunity to sample the various barbecue fare.

"It's another way to draw (the public) into the event, and it's another fundraising opportunity," Randolph said.

¢ A group has expressed interest to the city to organize a run/bike race in conjunction with Lansing DAZE. Details have not been completed.

Randolph also described for council members city officials' idea for a new festival in 2006: Autumn in the Grove.

The one-day festival would be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, in Kelly Grove Park at the corner of East Gilman Road and U.S. Highway 73.

"We've been looking for some kind of fall experience for all the residents and also look for ways to utilize this new park and welcome our residents to it," Randolph explained.

She talked about several events for the festival, including a scarecrow-building contest for youngsters, a fall market, and tastings of area breweries' and vineyards' products.

No changes are in the making for the city's other big public festival, the annual Fourth of July celebration at Lansing Middle School, but Randolph told council members the city may need to start looking for an alternate location depending on construction at the nearby new Lansing Elementary School.

"It's kind of sad because we finally got everything down great at that location and everyone likes it there, and now we might have to move it," she said.

Council members, after raising several questions about the festival lineup, informally endorsed the city's plans.

City Administrator Mike Smith reminded council members the festivals just now are in the planning stages for next year.

"There's a lot of things that we have to give and take on this to make this work right," Smith said. "We just wanted to make sure you were comfortable with the way we were starting to look at it. We have a long way to go."

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