The good fiscal news came last week at a meeting of the commission that organizes the event. Morton Grove Days Commission members met to recap the event’s success and start talking about improving next year’s festivities.
The general sentiment at the meeting was that the event was a success.
“The big guy upstairs did us a favor because the weather was phenomenal” Trustee Bill Grier said of the clear skies during the event's run July 1-4.
Crunching the numbers
Morton Grove Days cost $152,859 and brought in $166,228 in revenues, creatinf a $13,369 profit.
The , which had previously been in charge of fiscal management for the event, gave that responsibility to the commission for the first time this year. They transfered $12,936 to the commission in money they'd banked from previous years, since the good year outweighed the bad. That leaves the commission with about $26,305 available to use toward next year’s activities.
Carnival ticket sales brought in $102,223 and combined with $27,707 in beer sales made up about 76 percent of revenue. Various sponsors also contributed $10,465, about 6 percent of revenue.
The four-day celebration included a parade, fireworks, carnival rides, games, live bands, a raffle and food from local restaurants. The bulk of event costs can be attributed to $81,000 paid to All Around Amusement to run the carnival. A combined total of approximately $40,000 was spent on musical acts throughout the festival and entertainment during the parade.
The last time the event made money was in 2008, when it had a $3,526 profit. The event produced losses of $8,014, $3,398 and $3,690 in 2010, 2009 and 2007 respectively.
Each day of the festival earned more than the previous day, with the Fourth of July showing itself as the big moneymaker, responsible for 31 percent of revenue. The July 4 fireworks are a big draw to the festival.
The park district covered the $16,000 cost of fireworks, according to Park District Executive Director Brian Sullivan. Sullivan said that event sponsor Call One donated $5,000 toward the cost of the Independence Day fireworks production, bringing costs for the event down to $11,000. The sound effects for the display cost $1,000, which was paid for with a donation from the Morton Grove American Legion.
Merchandise sales of glowing wands, hats, glasses and patriotic dreadlocks cleared a $1,500 profit, which was applied to the cost of the fireworks production and brought the total cost down to $9,500.
Having the park district pay for the fireworks helped the event's budget and increased profits, but “never the less, it’s something to build from,” Trustee Grier said.
Improvements for next year
While most talk was positive, the commission took time to pitch ideas for improving next year’s event.
Mark Manno expressed dissatisfaction with the cost of the carnival and pointed to that as an area to consider, even though Village Administrator Joe Wade said that relations with company were good.
“I’m not saying they were difficult,” Manno replied.
Yet he went on to say that the price of the carnival is somewhat steep and that the commission should take a deep look at the agreement with the company.
Commissioners expressed gratitude for volunteers who offered their time to run the event.
“I thought they did a good job, and they always stepped up,” said Georgianne Brunner, the volunteer coordinator for the commission.
Still, the commission indicated possibly turning a cost-cutting eye toward free meals provided to volunteers as a perk for their service. Those freebies amount to $1,064 — a small part of total expenses, but still an area to reduce, said Bill Grear, who serves as the village board's liaison to the commission.
“We’ve got to readdress this. It’s too much money,” he said. “If we eliminate it, maybe, just possibly, we can throw a [small] party for all the volunteers, a post-party.”
Commissioner Bill Archer suggested more community outreach to rope volunteers in to the event earlier in the planning process.
“That has to be the main thing, and we have to mobilize,” he said.
The commission also discussed rethinking the raffle, with some in favor of bolstering presale efforts and mailing tickets to raffle participants, and others suggesting doing away with the raffle all together.
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