NEW RICHMOND -- City Council members will take up the fate of Fun Fest 2021 at their April 12 regular meeting.
Amid increasing vaccinations and declining infection rates, Chamber of Commerce Director Rob Kreibich made a case at the council’s March 22 workshop to hold Fun Fest the weekend of July 8-11, 2021.
The new location would be downtown on Minnesota Avenue between West Third and Fourth streets as well as West Third between Minnesota and Knowles avenues. Parking lot reconstruction at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College forced the chamber to relocate its largest annual money-making event.
“We’re orphans now looking for a location. We analyzed probably eight different suggested locations. We looked at Freedom Park. A couple of problems there. Utilities, water and electricity are very important to the carnival andl for beer trailers, In addition, Freedom Park’s not very visible, it’s not easy to find, pretty much everyone would have to drive,” Kreibich told the City Council. “It’s going to be hard to duplicate how visible Fun Fest was when it was held at WITC. Downtown, people can walk to the event like they do for the hometown holiday event.”
Changes to the festival would include live streaming the parade, a pared down amusement park, a midnight deadline on weekend music and additional pandemic precautions including safety signage, hand sanitizing stations, masks and gloves for volunteers, limited seating and a reduced number of food booths.
A number of business owners whose properties would be impacted by the fair’s relocation spoke out encouraging the council to reject the chamber’s proposal, citing the ongoing public health risk posed by the pandemic, questions regarding whether the event could fit logistically into the newly proposed footprint, behavioral and sanitation issues as well as noise and neighborhood parking concerns.
The council voted 4-1 to table further discussion until its April 12 meeting, giving the chamber more time to canvas residents that would be directly impacted by the relocation and to consider alternative locations.