Friday, April 26, 2013

TOP STORY >> Festival returns to Jacksonville

Leader staff writer

The return of a festival in Jacksonville is fast approaching.

The date for the first ever Jacksonville FestiVille, sponsored by the city’s parks and recreation department, is set for June 21 and 22 at Dupree Park.

Event coordinator Dana Rozenski said the department is still looking for vendors and sponsors and should announce the roster of entertainment in about a week.

The department is promoting FestiVille as a family-oriented event and hopes to draw visitors from throughout central Arkansas.

It’s the first try at a citywide festival since the demise two years ago of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Wing Ding Festival. The chamber dropped the festival because it took up too many hours and was a losing proposition. The last Wing Ding ended up about $12,000 in the red.

Last fall, Mayor Gary Fletcher approached the Parks and Recreation Department about having a city festival. The department took on the assignment at full steam and full enthusiasm, Rozenski said.

One of the first things the department did was to move the festival from a very busy fall date that competed with Cabot, Sherwood, Beebe and the state fair to a late June date with less event competition in the area.

Rozenski said, “The two-day event will be filled with fun, delicious food vendors, an up-and-coming country act, a fishing derby sponsored by Ashland, awesome carnival rides and games, a 5K and 1K run sponsored by the 19th Operations Support Squadron booster club, children’s activities, baby crawling races, tricycle races, karaoke contest and exhibitor booths.

Also set for the festival is a volleyball tournament sponsored by the Central Arkansas Volleyball Association, Mr. and Miss FestiVille Pageant sponsored by the Jacksonville High School cheerleaders and a canine cutie contest sponsored by C&J’s Gifts.

Rozenski suggested that FestiVille could provide the perfect opportunity for businesses, churches and other organizations to reach out to the general public, or it could be used for fundraisers.

The department is looking for sponsorships of various events as well as cash sponsors to help defray the cost of the festival. Sponsorships start as low as $500 and run up to $3,000.

The $3,000 sponsorship package includes a banner at entrance sponsoring the midway, three sponsorship parking passes, a free booth with tent provided along the midway, listing as a major sponsor in advertising and the company logo and website link will be included on FestiVille’s website.

A $500 sponsorship package includes a free booth (but not along midway), listing as a major sponsor in advertising and the company logo and website link will be included on FestiVille’s webpage

For additional festival information, details about the sponsorships or vendor booths or to volunteer, call Rozenski at 501-982-0818.