Council expresses continued support for George Streetfest

At the George Streetfest on Main, St. George, Utah, July 4, 2015 | Photo by Leanna Bergeron, St. George News

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.

George First Friday Streetfest, St. George, Utah, June 5, 2015 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
George First Friday Streetfest, St. George, Utah, June 5, 2015 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

“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.

Jazz garden at George First Friday Streetfest, St. George, Utah, June 5, 2015 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
Jazz garden at George First Friday Streetfest, St. George, Utah, June 5, 2015 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

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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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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3 Comments

  • Billy Madison October 9, 2015 at 11:52 am

    I’m very surprised that the City would even consider this at all let alone allow it to continue. I have been to past George Street-fests this Summer and enjoyed them except for finding out where the beer is. I’ve yet to discover that. I hope this continues and that the city will support it, the attendees certainly do.

  • NotSoFast October 9, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    We enjoyed the StreetFest and going thru the shops and listening to the music? Great!
    The Jazz Garden? Don’t get me started. My wife & I, who’s ages are ‘Older Than Dirt’, Grey hair couple, mid seventies tried to walk in. HOLD IT! You have to show your I.D. to verify your old enough to drink or something to pass through this gate/ even to look around. I showed mine, the wife didn’t have her purse with her. Sorry, no exceptions! the law is the law. But- Sorry, but If I allow you to pass, I’ll lose my job. Their watching us, sorry. I think I said something along the lines of. ‘You know where you can stick your Beer Garden young man. And that goes for the liquor cop wherever he’s hiding. I wonder if they will change the policy to allow folks to visit the Electric Theater? Don’t count on it.

  • Common Sense October 10, 2015 at 6:58 am

    Such a bummer last time when there was no alcohol! A girlfirend and I went to have a drink, listen to some music and unwind after a grueling workday only to discover…No alcohol. Total waste of our time. When I went to the garden previously I was disappointed that you have to be enclosed in a gated yard like a dog in a kennel just to consume a lousy beer. Seriously?

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