ST. GEORGE – Prior to the start of “George, Streetfest on Main,” event organizer Melynda Thorpe told the St. George City Council she would give them an update on how the event was going after five months. During a work meeting of the council Thursday, she gave her report concerning the success and growth of the event and asked the city for its continued sponsorship.
“I can hardly believe it’s been five months,” Thorpe said; “that we can stand here and say we have five months under our belts is a big deal to me.”
The streetfest was designed by Thorpe to appeal to residents and tourists alike, offering a monthly outdoor option supporting local artists, performers and downtown businesses. It is managed and created by Thorpe’s company, Emceesquare Media & Events, in partnership with the City of St. George, St. George Area Tourism office and St. George Historic Downtown Merchants business group.
“I think the biggest highlight for me is the crowd that keeps coming back,” Thorpe said.
Since the event’s debut, attendance to the streetfest in downtown St. George has grown to average around 5,000 people attending monthly.
The George Jazz Garden, which serves beer and wine in the heart of Ancestor Square while also featuring live jazz music, draws an average of around 450 people.
While well-attended, the recent Jazz Garden event ran dry due to complications involving state liquor licensing.
As for the effect on the downtown merchants whose goods are featured during the streetfest, Nikki Pace, for Historic Downtown Merchants business group, said impact has been positive.
While many of the business involved are raking in the exposure the streetfest gives them overall, Pace said, it has also saved one of the stores involved from closing.
Organizers are now asking the City of St. George to commit $2,000 per month to the event. Other sponsors, which include St. George News, have already signed on.
Other requests of the city included issuing a second alcohol license for a secondary venue at the Electric Theater Center where wine could be served. The idea of showing a midnight movie at the center was also mentioned.
Both City Manager Gary Esplin and Mayor Jon Pike said financial support for future streetfests hadn’t been budgeted for and that the city’s budget would have to be opened and adjusted accordingly. Despite that, the council’s overall support was apparent.
“It’s been a great event,” Esplin said, “staff supports it.”
Though no votes were taken during the work meeting, Pike said the city should consider sponsoring the event through 2016.
“I think the event warrants our support,” Councilwoman Bette Ariel said. “… I think we’re looking at a new permanent activity for our city,” she said.
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