The next Mint Hill Madness festival will not be until May 2014.
Town commissioners voted 4-1 Thursday, March 14, to postpone the annual fall festival until next Memorial Day. Extra planning time is needed, organizers say, after the Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce announced in January it was giving up control of the 30-year-old festival. The festival has struggled to break even in recent years, including an $8,386 deficit in 2011. Chamber President Rich Ferretti said the chamber made about $2,100 from the 2012 festival.
The location of the festival hasn’t been decided. The annual pageant associated with the festival will be held in September under a new name, the Miss Mint Hill Scholarship Pageant.
Commissioner Tina Ross voted March 14 against the date change and Mayor Ted Biggers said he “reluctantly” gave his support. Both expressed concerns about the festival’s ability to draw a crowd during the spring holiday weekend.
“Mint Hill Madness started in the spring and what we found was there were too many ball games, etc., to compete with,” Ross said. “I don’t think that Memorial Day weekend is going to be a time that we’re going to really attract people going back and forth from the race track. We’ve established a tradition of having a good fall festival and I’d hate to see us try for a spring event when it’s something that didn’t work before.”
The festival’s new board of directors voted unanimously on the new date, board member Dalton Taylor said. The group is working with Mint Hill attorney Tony Johnson to turn the festival into a nonprofit to take advantage of sponsorship dollars the chamber couldn’t get as a business association.
Festival board members in addition to Taylor are: Town Manager Brian Welch, Tony Long, Donna Rogers and Julian Venable.
Board members would like to move the festival back to the Park on Fairview, Taylor said, but are open to other suggestions. Commissioner Lloyd Austin questioned during the meeting why the festival couldn’t be moved to the open acreage the town owns behind the soon-to-be new police department, accessible off of Lawyers Road.
The area has been used for vendor parking in recent years and when it rains the area becomes “a muddy mess,” Taylor said.
“If the land can be graded properly and drained, I would say anything’s possible. But how do we get people in and out of there? I’m not sure,” he said.
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