The Daffodil Festival is renewing its call for financial help, saying it may not have enough money to put on the 2010 Daffodil Parade without more contributions.
The festival’s Grand Floral Street Parade marches through Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner and Orting each April and has been an annual tradition since the 1930s.
Festival spokeswoman Susan McGuire sent out a letter requesting donations Tuesday, warning that a parade in 2010 was far from a certainty unless the organization gets more help.
“Right now we’re looking pretty dire,” McGuire said in a phone interview Wednesday. “We’re working hard and we want to make it happen, but we’ve got to draw the line someplace.”
Fundraising director Robyn DeLorm said the organization will be about $20,000 short of where it needs to be to put on the 2010 parade if donations continue at their current rate. A parade in 2011 is looking even more doubtful, she said.
Most of the 23 area high schools that participate in the festival’s royalty program have already selected their princesses to compete for the title of Daffodil Queen next spring.
But DeLorm said that if there is no spring parade, there won’t be a Daffodil Queen coronation, either.
“There would be no royalty program, no queen, nothing,” DeLorm said.
The festival was in a similar situation in mid-2008, when declining donations caused festival organizers to warn there may not be a parade in 2009 or 2010.
DeLorm said the organization weathered those tough times due to an outpouring of community support, but the donations have since dried up.
“We didn’t say anything else to the community, so they thought we were fine,” DeLorm said. “I think it’s our fault for not saying to them that the situation isn’t solved.”
The festival is still waiting for a possible contribution from the City of Puyallup, DeLorm said, which could help the festival raise enough to put on the 2010 parade. Last year, the city contributed about $14,000, DeLorm said.
But this year the city could give less or possibly not at all, as some other regular donors have done. Neither Pierce County’s government nor the Emerald Queen Casino are contributing to the festival this year.
DeLorm said there are things the organization can do to cut costs and help ensure there is a parade in 2010, including possibly closing the festival’s business office. The office employs one office administrator who works 30 hours a week year-round. The festival’s only other paid employee is DeLorm, who works part-time. Volunteers comprise the rest of the organization.
DeLorm said she thinks the festival can also work to reduce its liability insurance costs, which she said is one of the biggest single costs of putting on the parade each year. The Daffodil Festival pays about $16,000 each year to ensure the parade, she said, even though cities hosting the parade already provide some insurance coverage for the event.
“In my mind, I feel like we’re maybe we’re overinsuring,” DeLorm said.
The festival is looking for any donations – big or small, monetary or in-kind – that could help it put on the 2010 parade and continue the festival into 2011, McGuire said. Donations can be made online at www.daffodilfestival.net; or anyone interested could call the festival office at 253-863-9524 for more information.