ST. GEORGE — An ongoing street festival in St. George that was previously maligned by city officials, attendees and business owners is slated to continue next year after new management successfully revitalized the event.
Previously operating under the “Georgefest” moniker, the rebranded St. George Streetfest will return to downtown St. George in March 2019 after the City Council approved continued support Thursday.
The nightlife event transforms downtown St. George into a multistage outdoor concert venue and street market, operating on a portion of Main Street south of St. George Boulevard on the first Friday of the month.
The last of this year’s festivals was Oct. 6, triggering a five-month winter hiatus while organizers continue to work to restructure the gathering and make plans for the next season.
The 2018 revamp, which emphasized more family-friendly attractions and a more consistent musical selection on the main stage and “Jazz Garden” area in Green Gate Village, was lauded as a great success by festivalgoers and city officials.
St. George Mayor Jon Pike said festival organizers have done “a very good job of trying to modify a few things to make it work better and flow better.”
Before its relaunch, some area business owners came to refer to it as a “free babysitting” event, as teens and younger children who rarely bought anything were loose to wander the festival unsupervised.
After city officials became wary about continuing to support the festival, event planning professional Carrie Bunker stepped in as the festival’s interim executive director and implemented the feedback from the city and community members.
The new, more family-oriented 2018 event included such attractions as jump houses, obstacle courses, ultimate ping pong, pottery and crafts. The nightlife component also continued for adults, with a beer garden for people 21 and older.
Each Streetfest in 2018 also had a theme with activities based around it, such as Oktoberfest, Island Luau and Cinco de Mayo.
Pike said St. George Police personnel also noticed improvement, noting better supervision and security.
Organizers are giving themselves a breather to be able to better plan events, hence the yearly five-month hiatus going forward.
When it returns for its March-October run next year, the city of St. George has pledged, pending legal negotiations, to continue its $2,000 per month sponsorship, with additional in-kind services, such as road closures, power connections, use of the city stage on Main Street and extra police patrols.
The event will also relaunch with yet another new name for the 2019 season, as yet to be determined by festival organizers.
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