Niagara Gazette — This year’s Niagara Falls Music and Arts Festival is going on as planned, according to an organizer.
“We’re not going to let it die,” Mary Jo Zacher said Sunday night. “No one wants to see anything happen to it.”
Last year’s music and art festival drew roughly 18,000 people to downtown Niagara Falls. The 2014 event is scheduled to take place the weekend of June 20 through June 22 and has been billed as offering more than 50 art vendors, 20 food vendors, wine tasting, a chalk walk, street entertainers, music and more.
The future of the festival was called into question on Friday when Rick Crogan, president of the festival, pleaded not guilty to two counts of grand larceny, class D felonies, and one count of scheming to defraud, a class E felony, in front of City Court Judge Robert Merino Friday morning.
Investigators allege that Crogan had spent $15,000 of a sponsorship payment for the Niagara Falls Music and Art Festival on personal expenses after reviewing bank account information linked to the art festival and Crogan’s personal accounts gained through subpoenas, Niagara Falls Police Capt. William Thompson said.
“Crogan took the money for sponsorship of the Niagara Falls Music and Art Festival, but failed to use the money for his festival and used the money for his own expenses,” Thompson said.
Sunday night, Zacher said the festival’s financial situation was still unclear.
“We’re not sure if the money is in place,” she said.
The chief concern, Zacher said, is payment for the bands booked for the event.
“If we have $2,000 or $3,000 to pay them than we’re fine,” she said.
With only two weeks to go till the festival, Zacher said everything else should be set.
“The vendors are in. The artists are in,” she said, “Everything is in place.”