Another blues, BBQ apparently headed to De Soto
Another blues and barbecue event is apparently coming next summer to the De Soto Riverfest Park.
De Soto City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle told the De Soto City Council last Thursday that the Defenders Motor Cycle Club wanted to have a blues concert and barbecue contest at the park in July modeled off the De Soto Chamber of Commerce event that opened the park last month.
Although inviting a motorcycle club might seem troublesome, there is no concern with the Defenders, Guilfoyle said. The club’s members are law enforcement officers.
Council members had no initial problems with the event and invited the club’s spokesmen to attend a council meeting next month to explain their plans.
The De Soto Chamber of Commerce Blues and Barbecue will likely change next year to a one-day event to better project it from being washed out by fall rains, Chamber director Sara Ritter said. Under consideration is scheduling blues bands only on the Friday night when the barbecue teams are preparing for the next day’s contest.
The Chamber board will make a decision on the change in the coming weeks, Ritter said. If that is the decision, the Chamber will have a late spring concert at the park.
“We don’t think we could support three blues events,” she said. “If we have a late spring concert, it would be country music.”
At last week’s council meeting, council members asked for an accounting of the Chamber’s 2008 blues and barbecue and the city’s expenses in helping with the event.
Guilfoyle said the city’s out-of-pocket expenses were limited to the labor involved in putting up security fencing before the event.
The Chamber’s 2008 blues and barbecue netted $15,000, Ritter said. Of that, $10,000 will be placed in the organization’s operating budget and about $5,000 will be used for the 2009 event, she said.
The city’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show is to move to the new park next summer. Guilfoyle said it now appeared that there would be another event held in association with the fireworks show. In addition, he said two more events where being discussed for next summer but were still in need of sponsorships.
While council members welcomed the news of the possible popularity of Riverfest Park, they were concerned about city staff’s ability to handle multiple events.
Guilfoyle said that the groups putting on events would be responsible for planning and coordination, just as the Chamber did for the park’s kickoff event. City staff would only ensure that proper planning was in place.
He also reminded the council the De Soto Park and Recreation Commission had asked to play a role in event planning at the park. A meeting of the park commission would be scheduled for December.
Among the questions the park board would consider is a possible fee for use of the park, Guilfoyle said. That would include discussion about excluding the De Soto Days Festival from the fee, which it has not been asked to pay in the past, he said.