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Farmington DDA Events Lose Money; New Holiday Decorations on the Way

Even though sponsorship losses cut into expected profits, officials say they'll follow through on a commitment to use funds for new lights and banners.

Farmington city treasurer Chris Weber delivered some bad news to Farmington Downtown Development Authority (DDA) board members Monday. 

While the numbers aren't final, Weber said, this year's events have thus far lost $13,499. He said the Farmers and Artisans Market, Founders Festival and Rhythmz in Riley Park all made money, while Art on the Grand, Harvest Moon and Holly Days lost money. 

Weber said budget projections called for events to add $19,600 to the DDA's budget; instead, they are now projected to cost the organization a total of $34,890. 

DDA executive director Annette Knowles said "the single largest factor" in the losses were sponsorships. A few weeks before Founders Festival, for instance, Meijer cut its $30,000 sponsorship in half, redirecting funds to the Grand Prix in Detroit. Another business that sponsored Harvest Moon last year was sold, and the new owners did not renew the $8,000 sponsorship, she added.

"Janet's already got a couple of meetings with sponsors for 2013," Knowles added, referring to events planner Janet Bloom. "We know we have to work on that." 

Even though events lost money, the DDA will follow through with a commitment to spend $10,000 raised through Saturday night cover charges at the Founders Festival beer tent (Walkers Tavern) on new holiday lights and decorations this year, Knowles said. New "Season's Greetings" banners with a vintage theme, lamp post decorations and bows and a special mailbox for letters to Santa Claus are being ordered. 

Correction: Funds for the new downtown decorations were raised through cover charges at Walkers Tavern during the Downtown Farmington Founders Festival. 

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