Financial risk, main logistical obstacles responsible for the cancellation of summer events | New
CADILLAC – Putting on a large event or festival often requires advance planning and financial commitments months before it takes place.
That’s why when people complain or question the cancellation of events scheduled for later this summer due to COVID-19 uncertainties, many organizers can’t help but shake their heads in frustration. Because depending on the size and nature of the event, decisions like this literally have to be made months in advance.
So far this year, a number of annual events have been canceled, including the Greatest Fourth in the North, the Cadillac Freedom Festival, and the Cadillac Lakes Cruise and Car Show.
Scott Dunlop, chairman of the board of directors for Cadillac Lakes Cruise and Car Show, said they were due to start planning for the event in November of the previous year. Since November 2020 was still at the heart of the pandemic, Dunlop said there was no way for them to know what things would look like in the summer.
With that uncertainty in mind, Dunlop said it just didn’t make sense to undertake all the work involved in attracting sponsors, aligning vendors, soliciting volunteers (an eternal challenge) and doing whatever they need for the event to unfold.
“There’s a ton of work involved,” Dunlop said. “There’s no way we could have done it this year.”
Instead, this year, the Downtown Cadillac Association is working with the Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau to bring the Back to the Bricks Classic Car Show to Cadillac on June 7.
Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau Acting General Manager Kathy Adair Morin said that one of the main things that enabled them to host the Back to the Bricks tour in Cadillac is that the local entities would be relative to immune to financial ramifications if the event were to be canceled. ; those ramifications would fall primarily on the Flint-based band Back to the Bricks, which runs the statewide tour.
Additionally, Adair said asking companies to sponsor a large local event like the Cadillac Lakes Cruise and Auto Show this year would be difficult as many are still reeling from the disruptive effects of the coronavirus.
“It’s (announcing the end of the Back to the Bricks tour) not as much work as putting together (the Cadillac Lakes Cruise and Auto Show),” Adair said. “There are huge upfront costs to organize events like these. . Many (event planners) are wrong about having to cancel them rather than losing thousands upon thousands of dollars.
Organizers of the Cadillac Freedom Festival and the Greatest Fourth in the North in Lake City cited financial and logistical considerations as the main reasons they decided to cancel their events this summer, in addition to concerns about the safety of attendees.
“… No one knows what we would be dealing with closer to the date or what guidelines would be in place at that time,” Lake City Area Chamber of Commerce director Michelle Reichert said. several weeks, by announcing that the event would not be held. year. “Not being able to look to the future, we didn’t feel comfortable moving forward.
Reichert added that “relying on sponsorship funds from local businesses that were hit the hardest last year was just not possible. … This decision was based on community safety as our number one goal, but the House is unable to meet the financial burdens, the upfront costs, nor is it willing to make the “ request ” of our business owners who have felt the pain this past year to come forward and donate funds.
Cadillac Freedom Festival organizer Derek Anderson said last year that they hoped they could host the Independence Day celebration and waited as long as possible before finally canceling it. This year, they made the decision to cancel the event several weeks ago.
Hosting the annual festival means competing for a number of heartwarming elements, including fundraising activities, getting permits, booking entertainment, and many other aspects – all for nothing if they end up failing. not be able to organize the event.
Likewise, Anderson said booking a fireworks show over Cadillac Lake was something they had to commit to months in advance. Last year, he said they lost a $ 2,500 deposit they sent to the fireworks company.
“Last year nobody knew how long this was going to last,” Anderson said. “But with the continued level of outbreaks so far this year, it doesn’t make sense to organize something that won’t happen.”
For events that have already taken place or are still planned for this summer, the organizers had to take a leap of faith.
In March, Mushroom Festival president Shiela Ferrel said her level of confidence in the possibility of hosting the event was 95%. His greatest concern was the epidemic ordinances that limit the size of outdoor events; but festival organizers have bet on relaxing regulations ahead of the festival from May 7 to 9.
This bet paid off; Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services relaxed outbreak orders just before the event, allowing for larger outdoor social gatherings. The event went off without a hitch earlier this month.
The recent easing of restrictions was also good news for the organizers of the Razzasque Days, who had to make the decision to continue their event in July without knowing for sure whether they would be forced to cancel it later.
“We resisted as long as possible,” said Taylor Steinhaus, secretary of the board of directors of Razzasque Days. “But we are now very confident that we can hold it this year.
Deb Stafford, founder and organizer of the annual Mesick Jeep Blessing, said they were so uncertain about moving this year’s event forward that they also waited until the last possible minute before deciding to do so.
Like other events, Stafford said setting up the Jeep Blessing required months of pre-planning and upfront investment in things like event insurance, which was much harder to come by this year because many insurance companies require strict assurance that the number of participants will stay lower. a certain threshold – something that is extremely difficult to guarantee at a mainstream event such as the Jeep Blessing. Ultimately, an insurance company agreed to cover the event, but not without a disclaimer in the contract stating that it would not be responsible for the costs associated with viral infections, leaving the Jeep Blessing to the burden of these costs, if applicable.
Despite these and other challenges, Stafford said he took the risk of continuing the event because he was quite convinced that at the current level of restrictions everything would be fine – and they were, as the event had taken place a few weeks ago. .
“We just felt like we could do it,” Stafford said. “The region needed it. The area is hurting and people are suffering. We’ve had calls from people saying it’s the first time they’ve been going out since last spring. They are so thankful that we were finally able to go out and do something.