HarborFest postponed until facility is complete
By Dwayne Bremer
Mar 21, 2014, 18:30
“America’s Got Talent” winner and Waveland native Michael Grimm performs at last year’s Bay HarborFest.
Organizers of the Bay HarborFest said Tuesday that they still want to have an event this year, but it most likely will not be on Memorial Day weekend.
Last year, the Bay St. Louis City Council entered into a five-year contract with the HarborFest group.
The contract stated the event would take place on Memorial Day weekend, and the city would receive a share of the ticket revenue from the festival.
HarborFest organizer Michael Rosato on Tuesday asked the Bay St. Louis City Council if it would amend the contract this year to allow the event to take place later in the summer.
Rosato said the delay in the opening of the municipal harbor is a big factor in moving the festival date.
He suggested the festival date be moved to when the city officially opens the harbor later this summer.
"After talking with the investors, we are asking to pick a day that is more in keeping with when the harbor will be open," Rosato said. "It is our goal that Bay Harbor Fest celebrate the harbor."
Rosato said if the event occurs at the same time as the grand opening of the harbor, it would most likely be a free event this year.
"There is no way the festival could not be free and open to the public this year."
Mayor Les Fillingame said Tuesday that the city is aiming for a grand opening of the harbor at the end of July.
He said the city is planning a "big celebration" to commemorate the event.
"It is going to be a big first-impression event and we want to make a good impression," Fillingame said.
Ward Two Councilwoman Wendy McDonald asked if the council needed to amend its contract with BHF to allow it to change dates.
City Attorney Donald Rafferty said the council needed to make a notation for the record, but he suggested the council get a concrete date first.
Ward Six Councilman Lonnie Falgout suggested that Rosato "work out the kinks" with the harbor commission and then return with a date.
Rosato said this year's event would probably last two days, rather than three, like last year's event.
He said the change in dates is only for this year, and next year, the festival should once again take place on Memorial Day weekend.