Commissioners Earmark American Rescue Plan Dollars to Defer Hike in Participation Costs
The Morris County Board of County Commissioners has pledged $100,000 to the Morristown Partnership and the Morristown Festival on the Green 2021 to help vendors and organizers deal with the soaring costs of tents and other equipment necessary to the popular event.
The funding will help event organizers keep participation costs for vendors at pre-pandemic levels, setting the stage for a successful event and thereby boosting the area economy, promoting tourism, and assisting businesses in the region. Tent rental and assembly labor costs, in particular, have doubled since 2019.
“This is a win for everyone. The dollars essentially go to small businesses and nonprofits, the Morristown Festival will have higher vendor participation and the residents of Morris County will enjoy a wide variety of offerings,” said Commissioner John Krickus, who also sits on the county’s COVID-19 Strategic Planning Advisory Committee.
The festival is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 3, from noon to 5 p.m. and registration for participants is now open!
Morris County is slated to receive $95 million in federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) State and Local Fiscal Recovery funding. While about half the funding has been received by the county, federal guidelines outlining the exact criteria on how and where it may be spent are still under review by the U.S. Treasury.
However, the Morristown Partnership needed to begin registering participants this month to prepare for the fall event, and the Board of Commissioners stepped in to assist with mounting costs, expressing confidence that the support will fall within the federal funding criteria, which was approved by Congress to aid local economies devastated by the pandemic.
“This year marks the 26th installment of the free family-friendly autumn kickoff produced by the Morristown Partnership,” said Jennifer Wehring, executive director of the Morristown Partnership.
“Thanks are in order to the Morris County Board of County Commissioners for their very generous commitment of $100,000 via the American Rescue Plan State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. This subsidy has enabled the Morristown Partnership to keep exhibitor fees flat with 2019 pricing, which otherwise would not have been possible due to substantial increases in costs relative to exhibitor space, labor and particularly tenting in 2021,” she added.
The festival has been a cultural staple every fall in North Jersey since 1994, with Morristown usually hosting more than 60,000 attendees in its historic downtown Green on a Sunday afternoon every early fall, rain or shine. More than 150 exhibitors participate in the event, which largely showcases local businesses, particularly the many restaurants in the Morristown area, as well as community and civic groups. Entertainment is offered for all ages, with up to four different stages being employed.
Published on July 28, 2021