AT A GLANCE
Fayetteville Festival Task Force
• Bootsie Ackerman, former executive director of the Downtown-Dickson Enhancement Project
• Hope Bradberry, downtown resident
• Steve Clark, president of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce
• Nelson Driver, event director for Bikes, Blues and BBQ
• Julie Gabel, co-founder of Ceramic Cow Productions
• Allison Twiggs Dyer, Fayetteville Visitors Bureau director
• Lea Ann Winkle-Gisler, owner of Southern Hospitality Management
• Deb Euculano, manager for administration and special projects at the Fayetteville chamber
• Joy Heuer, manager for the Greenway Initiative, Leadership and Special Events at the Fayetteville chamber
Source: Staff Report
FAYETTEVILLE — Mayor Lioneld Jordan is focusing attention on festivals for their potential to add to Fayetteville’s cultural offerings while increasing city coffers.
Jordan has organized a task force to look for ways to increase the diversity of events in Fayetteville, produce additional entertainment options for residents, provide economic opportunities for local artists, entrepreneurs and businesses and increase the city’s tax revenue, according to the mayor’s letter to group’s members.
“I really want you all to not put boundaries on what you would recommend,” Don Marr, Jordan’s chief of staff, told the Fayetteville Festival Task Force during its first meeting Thursday afternoon.
“We’re looking for the good of the community. We’re looking for growth. We’re looking for the economic impact,” said Nelson Driver, who is chairman of the ad hoc task force, which will make recommendations to the mayor. Driver is also the event director for the Bikes, Blues & BBQ motorcycle rally, which brings thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts to Fayetteville.
The committee members were selected by the mayor and come from various groups, including the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and the Fayetteville Visitors Bureau. However, Steve Clark, president of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, suggested the committee become more diverse in terms of ethnicity and backgrounds.
“The more we celebrate diversity and festivals, the more we have going for us,” Clark said.
The committee will next meet in two weeks and will continue to meet until it has recommendations for the mayor regarding how to grow festivals and other events in Fayetteville that will bring in people and tax dollars.
“We’re at a time right now where our sales taxes are falling off all over the place,” Driver remarked, calling to mind the economic opportunities festivals can mean for the city.
For now, all ideas are on the table and up for consideration.
“We need to look at everything,” Driver told the committee. “I don’t think anything should be excluded when it comes to festivals, whether it’s art, whether it’s blues or whatever it is.”
The group will also explore some of the logistical processes festivals have to deal with, such as permitting or parking, and also whether some events can happen in tandem.
“We want to really challenge the thinking around some of these thought processes,” Marr said.