Just days after a successful first-of-its-kind bourbon festival drew hundreds of visitors to Frankfort, the fate of another community event that also had its first go around this year seems up in the air.
On Tuesday, Downtown Frankfort Inc. returned $10,000 in Franklin County Fiscal Court funding, which would have covered about half of the expenses for the second annual FrankFest — a free event celebrated on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend as a way to spotlight the county’s only park.
DFI, which managed the inaugural Lakeview Park festival in May and was expected to follow suit next year, handed back the check after a squabble over whether the court should receive the "excess" proceeds from the debut event and a nearly $8,000 administrative fee that the nonprofit organization billed the county for its employees’ planning time.
Kelly Everman, executive director of DFI, and Terri Bennett, DFI board chairwoman, told the fiscal court that it charges the administrative fee for all its events and that, even though 5th District Magistrate Marti Booth brought up the idea of drafting a contract for FrankFest, one was never entered into between the two parties.
Magistrate Scotty Tracy said he and other county leaders had questions regarding the administrative fee, which “was never brought up before or after. It was never touched on.”
Everman, who presented the balance sheet from the event at Tuesday’s meeting, said the festival brought in $31,400 and that expenses, which totaled more than $25,000.
Initially, the county approached DFI and asked them to manage FrankFest in exchange for increased funding last year. Fiscal court decided to use the event as a way to attract visitors to Lakeview Park and budgeted $20,000 for the project.
With emotions seemingly running high on both sides and all the projects DFI currently has on its plate — including the implementation of the Downtown Master Plan — perhaps the best solution is to part ways. However, we do hope that the county will continue with plans for next year’s FrankFest — as the family-friendly event drew thousands.