What will and won't be at Fridley's 49er Days festival is a topic of conversation as the event nears. 49er Days Committee member Sue Johnson responded to some of the concerns.
Fridley Patch: What are you hearing from people about features from past 49er Days that aren't part of the festival this year?
Sue Johnson: As our event grows closer we find that we have been hearing from people expressing their disappointment, and even being upset about this year’s festival because there will be no rides nor will there be fireworks. That is unfortunate. Many people (residents) donate a number of hours to put this festival on for their neighbors and friends in Fridley—nobody is paid for their time.
Fridley Patch: What are the reasons for not having those features this year?
Johnson: First, I’d like to point out that the festival is put on solely by donations to provide residents an event that is low cost to attend. If it wasn’t for the businesses/organizations who donate, there would be no festival. If people who are currently “disappointed” in what the festival offers would like to help the committee solicit more donations (approx $10,000) for the fireworks, the committee would welcome your assistance with future festivals. Secondly, there is more to bringing in rides than you think. You need space to accommodate a variety of rides (which Fridley is limited on), you need to find a date that a company can come, and you need to have a big enough venue that would make them want to come—which Fridley does not. Notice that I am not using the word carnival as I explain about the rides. Truly, a carnival (according to one source) is defined as a public celebration: a public festive occasion or period, often with street processions, costumes, music, and dancing—this is what the 49er Day Festival is all about.
Fridley Patch: How much will it cost to put on this year’s 49er Days?
Johnson: This year we have two (free) street dances—the bands cost about $5,000 to bring in. We will also have pony rides for the kids—about $900; advertising, and a list of miscellaneous other items can run about $3,000. We are also bringing in USA Inflatables who will be setting up Moon Bouncers, slides, and a bunch of other BIG cool stuff for all ages to enjoy. The committee members believe that this is a great alternative to the “carnival” rides offered in the past – but is costing 49er Days. The Fridley Lions club sponsors and organizes one of the best parades in this area at a cost of about $10,000—so far, based on the numbers I’ve listed the total cost is up to approximately $19,000.
Fridley Patch: What can people who are interested in 49er Days do to help?
Johnson: As with many things, it is difficult to please everyone, but the mission of the committee members is to provide a low-cost community celebration for residents to enjoy and perhaps get to meet their fellow neighbors. If our community/residents believe that the committee should charge fees for things that are now being offered for free to help raise money for future festivals, we’d be glad to hear from them. Comments can be posted on the Fridley Days Facebook page or e-mailed to email@example.com