In a slightly modified version, the Farmington Founders Festival will return in 2021.
On Monday, Farmington city council and Downtown Development Authority (DDA) members approved agreements that will put 360 Event Productions in charge of organizing the event. The company handled Festival operations in 2018 and 2019 for Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce, which cancelled 2020’s event due to COVID-19 concerns and then relinquished control earlier this year.
At a minimum, the 2021 event will include a parade, beer tent, music, crafters, food trucks, a run, bingo, and bounce houses. The contractor retains sponsorships and proceeds from the event and will manage everything from insurance and permits to staffing and event day management.
Bowman explained that the city will provide $10,000 for start-up costs, funneled through the DDA. That group, she said, has the authority to hold this type of event, while the city does not. A Memorandum of Understanding assigns responsibility for working with company owner Julie Law to city manager David Murphy and Mayor Sara Bowman.
“The Memorandum of Understanding takes away all of the heavy lifting and financial burden from the DDA back to the city, so that we are not using DDA resources, financial, staffing or otherwise,” Bowman said.
All Festival activities will take place in downtown Farmington, she added. “That is in keeping with what we have heard over the last several years, what our citizens and guests have been asking for.”
360 Event Productions will manage Founders Festival for two years, with the same procedure each year.
In response to a question from council member Steven Schneemann, Bowman said that Law is open to including nonprofit fundraising events under the Festival umbrella.
“She’s going to have the list of events she’ll earn her money from, but she’s more than happy to make sure those other events are promoted,” Bowman said.
In an interview Tuesday, Law said that she plans to reach out to community groups and organizations to build a plan over the next few months. She expects to release the festival grounds layout and a new website after the first of the year.
“We do plan on engaging the community,” Law said.”I want to make sure I’m executing the vision for the city.”