by Tammy Sakry
St. Francis’ Pioneer Days has been an event enjoyed by many over the years. But the fun could be at an end.
The city and the Pioneer Days Committee will be holding two special public meetings March 15 for area business members, residents and organizations to talk about the future of the event.
This could be the last year for the event, which is scheduled June 8, 9 and 10.
The council needs to think seriously about the future of Pioneer Days, said Councilmember Steve Kane.
It is a large expense for the city and it needs to find other organizations that are willing to take over it over or change what it offers, he said.
Kane suggested eliminating the parade.
“We need to need to make up our minds” on what the city will sponsor, he said.
With the possibility that the city could eliminate Pioneer Days from its 2013 budget, the March 15 meetings at 2 and 6 p.m. will allow city staff to talk to area businesses, organizations and residents to see if there are groups willing to step up and help with the cost or take over as well as get input from them about the event.
Pioneer Days is very expensive, said Barb Held, city clerk and Pioneer Days organizer.
Last year, the city paid $8,400 in overtime for the hourly public worker employees to work during the event and around $4,200 for the parade, which included paying for trophies, high school band travel expenses and paying for specialty bands, like the Cracker Jack band.
“It all adds up,” Held said.
When the council talked in December about the possibility of ending Pioneer Days, City Administrator Matt Hylen said the festival relies on funds from private donations and city funds and has run in the red for a number of years.
The March 15 meetings will be in the city hall’s community room, 23340 Cree St.
Tammy Sakry is at firstname.lastname@example.org