Big Bucks for BayFest2010

For the Bay Improvement Group (BIG), August is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

BIG President Steve Barrison revealed that local politicians have pledged $27,500 to next year’s BayFest, making it the largest budget the organizers of the annual waterfront celebration has secured in its 19-year existence. And that’s before the numerous sponsorships BIG obtains for BayFest.

“We’re ecstatic. It’s wonderful that we’re able to keep BayFest going in these economic times,” Barrison said.

According to Barrison, $15,000 came from State Senator Carl Kruger, marking the largest single donation the event has ever received. The remaining $12,500 came from City Councilman Lew Fidler, who provided similar amounts in recent years.

If other politicians give the same amounts they gave in recent years, Barrison said the budget will swell a few thousand dollars more. He also said that BIG has not yet started to seek private sponsorships, which usually nets BayFest the bulk of its operating budget, and, in light of the funding already secured, may double its usual funding.

With the donations from Fidler and Kruger alone, the money is $2,500 more than it was during the group’s 10th year anniversary in 1991. Then, the $25,000 (made up almost entirely from private sponsors) was enough funding to have games and attractions for kids, and bands on each of Sheepshead’s ten piers, showcasing different styles of music, plus several more on the main Emmons Avenue stage.

But Barrison warns that money alone doesn’t guarantee a great event. He is calling on volunteers and neighborhood businesses to get involved early in the process to help shape the event.

At BIG’s first BayFest planning meeting last week, it was apparent the organization needs to bulk up its manpower and get some new blood in the mix if this money is going to create an unparalleled Sheepshead event. So if you have an idea for how to bring arts, culture and party spirit to the waterfront, be sure to e-mail them and see how you can help.


Sign in or become a Bklyner member to join the conversation.