By Selwyn Harris
It appears that the Town of Pahrump will indeed organize and run the 2013 Fall Festival.
The festival’s future received a lot of attention late last summer when a private group walked away from its responsibilities roughly a month before the event was to take place.
Town staff, board members, and a host of volunteers jumped into action and saved the popular event from being cancelled.
During a recent town board meeting Town Manager Bill Kohbarger reeled off a list of four options for the board to consider for this year’s event.
Topping that list was the option of outsourcing the event to a professional organization.
Other considerations included contacting local or regional nonprofit groups to determine their interest in helping to conduct the festival or have the town staff along with volunteers to run the event.
The final option was to cancel the event entirely, which did not sit well with anyone at the meeting.
Last Tuesday Kohbarger conveyed his findings to the board.
“During the last meeting, you gave me permission to go out and conquer in order to find a professional event organizer. That night a young lady who owns the party supply store in town, Lisa Holleman, said we the town can do this,” he said.
Kohbarger went on to say that Holleman contacted numerous nonprofit agencies and ended up with more than enough volunteers to put on the event.
The town manager met with Holleman days later where he was introduced to nonprofit representatives who were eager to assist with the organization of the festival.
“We had 18 people show up representing 28 nonprofits. After two hours of discussions, it basically came about that the nonprofits were very excited and said that they would supply the labor to take the pressure off of the town staff. I want permission from the town board that the town run, operate, and control the 2013 Pahrump Fall Festival. Again the nonprofits will do the labor, the staff will provide support and control the finances and once the fall festival actually starts on Thursday, there will be one person in charge and that person will be the town manager as the last 2012 fall festival did,” he said.
Board member Amy Riches, who wanted the town to run the festival all along, said she hopes that the nonprofit agencies can be exempted from any and all fees related to the vendor side of the event.
“I would like to see the Lions, the Kiwanis, which are our 501c3′s. They have their own trailers, do not charge them because their money goes right back into the community and I would like to see them free, gratis do some of the vendor booths and let everyone else pay because we need to do for our community,” she said.
Riches also had a message for the town staff.
“I want to commend you because you did such a fantastic job at the last fall festival. The ability that we have as a community to do this and the fact that staff is willing to take it on I think is fantastic so there you go,” she said as the room erupted with applause.
Board Chairman Harley Kulkin said he was equally appreciative with the efforts of town staff and the agencies who said they would volunteer their time to support the festival.
“I would like to thank staff for all of their hard work they did to get us up to this point. I would also like to say to the public that I’m sure there is still room for volunteers and hats off to the town,” he said.
Vice Chairman Bill Dolan wanted to make clear that the town will run the 2013 fall festival and nothing has been discussed beyond that.
“At this point in time, we don’t know. Let’s get through 2013 or at least up to the 2013 event and we will see where we are going to go after that. The town staff did a fantastic job last year. People had stepped forward. Karen Jackson, Vern Van Winkle, Rodney Camacho, and my wife. There was a tremendous amount of people who stepped forward and made that a very successful event and I’m very proud of all of them,” Dolan said.
Board Member Dr. Tom Waters was the first to make the motion to have the town run the event.
He said judging from the 2012 festival, he is confident that this year’s festival will be just as successful.
“That was our town manager and we always want to give him a big pat on the back. He deserves it and a lot of people don’t want to give him any credit for anything but he is an excellent town manager,” Waters said.
Board members voted unanimously to have the town run this year’s event.
Unexpected problems notwithstanding, the 2012 Pahrump Fall Festival still managed to turn a profit of $35,449.