Between The Bookends
by Kirby Lindsay
The June 30th Fremont Chamber of Commerce (FCC) Board Meeting lacked its normal energy, but most participants had just spent a full June celebrating Fremont – and doing so quite loudly.
Phil Megenhardt and Philly Hoshko, of Bold Hat Productions, took center stage with their reports on the Fremont Fair and Oktoberfest. Bold Hat produced the Fair for the first time and on behalf of the Fremont Chamber, and managed to make an unexpected profit of $6,281.87 ($420 donated by Frame Up Studios off sales of their framed copies of the Fair poster.) Jessica Vets, FCC Executive Director, reported the money will be distributed 75% to Solid Ground and 25% to the Chamber grant program, to fund other local events and non-profits.
“It was a really great experience,” Hoshko, lead organizer, said about the Fair. The biggest success this year, she reported, comes from knowing what they are doing going forward. Information on the last few year’s Fairs - what had worked, what had not and how much money had come in - could not be obtained. Next year, Hoshko said, she looks forward to implementing the great ideas suggested this year that couldn’t be used due to the limited time they had to organize. Hoshko will prepare a complete report on the 2010 Fair, to be presented at the end of August.
For now, the Board reviewed preliminary findings given on a two-sided page filled mostly with comments collected from guests, community members, vendors, bands and an art car organizer. They’ve estimated attendees (in a soggy year) at 80,000. Partnerships with Fremont Abbey Arts Center, the Seattle Art Cars and Blank Canvas were extremely positive. Vets also praised the work of Duo Public Relations – and the great job they did with media exposure for the Fair.
Hoshko went on to report on Oktoberfest, the Fremont Chamber fundraiser, held September 24 – 26. The Chamber has often referred to the two – the Fair and Oktoberfest – as bookend events, and Hoshko spoke her enthusiasm for being able to help organize both.
The Fair may influence the return of a Chamber information booth at Oktoberfest. At the 2010 Fair, the Chamber allowed local businesses, non-profits and event organizers to leave handouts in their two information booths – and Fair visitors enjoyed finding the information. Hoshko also mentioned they’ve begun programming the Village stage, stationed outside the fenced portion of Oktoberfest. They have looked at bands and doing more Bavarian decorations. The Texas Chainsaw Pumpkin Carving Contest continues to draw crowds there, while Chamber President Marko Tubic praised last year’s City Dog Magazine Cover Dog Contest (“It was great!”) This came as part of Dog Day Afternoon at Oktoberfest, which allows visitors to bring their canines on Sunday.
Frustration Parked, For Now
Vets later reported on correspondence from Peter Hahn, Director of the City of Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). After attending a Chamber meeting in May, Hanh has conscientiously responded to information and action items he received. In a June 17th e-mail to FCC leaders (a copy of which was distributed at this meeting) he reported further on SDOT progress regarding several items including removal of vegetation obscuring parking signs, confusing language on parking signs, temporary no parking permits and the Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ).
As to the primary request by the Fremont Chamber - to have paid parking kiosks (parking meters) removed - Hahn stated, “SDOT does not plan to remove the paid parking in Fremont.” He explained that the decision comes from review of previous utilization studies. He has requested that new data be collected this summer. He promised to share the results with the Chamber by early fall.
At this meeting, the Board reviewed a draft response letter re-stating the Chamber position on these matters (including continued dislike but ultimately neutral position on the RPZ.) The draft letter stated, unequivocally, that the Chamber feels paid parking kiosks deter shoppers. The letter requested an economic impact study be done to gauge the impact of kiosks on local businesses, rather than another study to shows they get used. Discussion of this matter wrapped with a motion to have the FCC Executive Committee revise and send the response letter.
Even after a hectic month, the meeting contained much information – more than can be captured here. To participate, attend the next Chamber Board Meeting, held July 28th (the last Wednesday of the month) at 8 a.m. at History House (790 North 34th Street). Everyone is welcome!
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.