Jour de Fete may not be writing checks directly to the city of Ste. Genevieve anymore, but committee president Jami Inman believes the event makes an immeasurable contribution to the city.
The financial impact of Jour de Fete — namely its contribution to the city and the expenses involved with law enforcement and street department working the event — was discussed at a meeting of the Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen last month.
The comments caught Inman’s attention.
With a key meeting coming up next Tuesday that could help determine the future of Jour de Fete beyond 2020, Inman also plans to talk to the Board of Aldermen this month about the event.
“I have a soft spot for Jour de Fete,” Inman said. “My mom ran Jour de Fete crafters for 23 years. When I was in seventh grade, we were marking streets, and back then there were 400 crafters and 500 booths. ...”
Back then, with craft vendors paying $120 per booth, Jour de Fete did give money directly to the city to help fund tourism operations and the Welcome Center.
The committee made a choice on what kind of crafters would be allowed at Jour de Fete, around the same time the economy went into a recession that saw people spending less money on such items.
When Inman became president of the Jour de Fete Committee nearly 10 years ago, she said there were 71 craft vendors participating. That number has been close to doubled in recent years.
She had concerns that the recent discussion of the aldermen left residents with the impression that Jour de Fete costs the city money. She also was concerned about some aldermen wanting to bill Jour de Fete for police overtime or street department work related to the event.
She said police chief Eric Bennett reported to the board $360 in personnel expenses related to the event, while field operations supervisor Gary Roth told Inman his department puts in about 10 hours to prepare for the event.
The city spends $200 from its marketing budget to advertise the event on local radio, Inman said. The committee’s own commercials on television in St. Louis and Cape Girardeau promote the city and its historic attractions, she said.
“I don’t want anyone to think that Jour de Fete is trying to take anything from the city for free,” Inman said.
She said she would be open to sharing the committee’s financial information with the Board of Aldermen.
“We’ll tell them what money we have,” she said. “We’re not hiding any money. None of us get paid to do this.”
See complete story in the September 11 edition of the Herald.