The Lilac Festival could be in for some changes.
The festival has been produced by Jim LeBeau’s company for more than a decade. (LeBeau has been around so long, he and county officials couldn’t tell me offhand the exact number of years he’s produced the festival.)
LeBeau’s contract is up. The county put out an obligatory Request for Proposals on behalf of Lilac Festival Incorporated, a joint venture of the city, county and visitors association. Even though he’s a Friend of Maggie, I’m not so sure LeBeau is a sure thing. From the 13WHAM News story I did:
LeBeau told 13WHAM News he plans to submit another proposal.
Monroe County Parks Director Larry Staub said, despite LeBeau’s close ties with the county, he is not a shoo-in to get the contract. “We are looking for fresh ideas and energy. This is very exciting.”
If LeBeau does get the contract, he’ll have to address issues raised by an LFI survey. Younger people, families and new visitors are looking for a more diverse array of music, food and vendors. They’re put off by huge crowds, parking hassles and bad weather. (I’m not sure what anyone can do about Mother Nature.)
Neighborhood groups are put off by commercialism and carnival-like atmosphere. They think the flowers should be the main attraction.
Proposals are due on Monday.
- Highland Park was founded in 1888 when nurserymen George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry donated 20 acres to the city.
- Frederick Law Olmstead designed the park.
- Horticulturist John Dunbar donated the first lilac bushes in 1892.
- The first Lilac Festival was an informal gathering of 3,000 people on a Sunday in May in 1898.
- The Lilac Queen was added in 1930.
- Lilac Sunday became the 10-day Lilac Festival in the late 1970s.
- Today there are more than 1,200 lilac bushes with 500 varieties over Highland Park’s 155 acres.
Links of the Day:
– The Western New York Flash are part of a new women’s professional soccer league. Great news!
– Just to be clear, the DEC says there’s no such thing as Big Foot.
– Tops’ profits were hurt by the availability of generic drugs.
– A beautiful Albany area church is slated to be knocked down for a Price Chopper.
– People got naked at a San Francisco council meeting banning nudity.