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Oswego Beats and Eats Gets OK for Village Funding

Feb 21, 2017 09:05PM ● Published by Steven Jack

The village of Oswego will again contribute $10,000 to the annual downtown summer concert series Oswego Beats and Eats

The Village Board voted 3-1 Tuesday night to approve the expenditure to help put on the free Main Street concerts that last year drew about 8,000 people downtown. Trustees Luis Perez, Karin McCarthy-Lange and Ryan Kauffman voted yes. Trustee Pam Parr voted no, while Trustees Judy Sollinger and Joe West were absent. 

Before giving his approval, Trustee Perez questioned organizer Macey Brooks about ways to improve the event's bottom line, which Brooks said showed a small loss in 2016. Brooks said while he also would like to see the events turn a profit, the main purpose of Beats and Eats is to drive local charitable donations.

In its four years, Brooks said about $10,000 in donations have been made to scholarships for local students, Autism awareness and support for other charitable community events.  

"We're trying to do more than throw a party," Brooks said. 

Parr said she voted no because she feels like a lot of village time and  money has been expended on this one event. 

"Last year we spent $10,000 and put in over 150 man hours," she said. "That's a lot to put toward one event. ... I don't mind supporting events like this, but eventually we need an exit plan."

The village's $10,000 contribution is used to pay for logistic items like fencing, staging and portable toilets. Brooks said he views the funding as a way to spread the village's brand awareness beyond Oswego. 

"This is better than a billboard," he said. "This is something that's alive ... and brings people to the downtown." 

Village President Gail Johnson said given the state's budget crisis and its impact on municipalities, the village is examining ways to make village sponsored events more economically sustainable for the future. She encouraged Brooks to work with the village for ways to improve profitability this year. 

"We want to find ways to make this financially viable for both of us," she told Brooks. 

Brooks said he's currently in the planning stages for this year, but he'e expecting a few new features at this summer's concerts. Beats and Eats concerts are scheduled for Saturdays, May 27, July 29, Aug. 26. 
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