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Daffodil Festival in trouble again

Post by Melissa Santos / The Olympian on Nov. 12, 2009 at 11:14 am with 8 Comments »
November 12, 2009 11:17 am

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.

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. ClownPosse says:

    “There would be no royalty program, no queen, nothing,” DeLorm said.”

    Well, that certainly would be a loss, wouldn’t it Robyn ?

    And imagine the loss to the reatilers with no one buying yellow jackets and white gloves !

  2. Their marketing materials, at least the online ones, could use some serious work.

    Maybe it’s time to take a look at the festival and see what could be streamlined, and what free community resources they could call upon to raise its profile a little with a younger and more civically active crowd. Perhaps they would consider switching the emphasis a little to celebrating local agriculture as a whole with daffodils just the symbol.

    Also, loosening up the float requirements so they aren’t threatening to bar local high schools from participation because they aren’t able to produce a motorized vehicle to their exact specifications might be a good idea.

  3. witchiwoman says:

    If they hadn’t created a rift with the Puyallups by refusing to acknowledge their substantial financial contributions to the festival, they’d still have that funding, which carried the festival for several years.

    I think they dug their own hole, here.

  4. DrWernerKlopek says:

    If they really are at the “End of the Line” do everything possible to make it a grand send off. Make this upcoming festival the last one, as many schools have already begun making preparations. Do not let them down. As for future years … maybe what someone else suggested – a new parade about something else, sometime later, Eco-Pride? That seems to be the trendy thing now – dressing up in recycled garbage bags and reworked cotton, while banging on sheet metal or like items pulled from a swamp.

  5. maryanderson says:

    Looking for “beerboy” and/or “beerboy2″ to contact The News Tribune to correct your user profile. Please contact webmaster@thenewstribune.com

  6. Copper2Steel says:

    Perhaps expenses can be reduced by having the parade in just one location: Puyallup or Sumner? I never understood why it needed to have 4 different parade route locations…

  7. footballscaa says:

    How much funding did they get in the 30’s? How about the cities and communities involved pitch in to help them out. Gratis. The parade draws a good crowd and the local commerce always benefits.

  8. twowrigs says:

    who cares……

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