Niagara Gazette

Tourism

July 24, 2006

Festival planners may create non-profit group

Organization would focus on year-round events in Niagara Falls

Organizers planning a September jazz festival in Niagara Falls are hoping to get support from the city and other agencies to fund a non-profit organization that could oversee area events.

Bill Bradberry, a member of the city’s Tourism Advisory Board, told the committee he plans to put together a proposal to create an entity that could work throughout the year to plan festivals.

Aside from local events like Pine Avenue’s Italian Festival or the St. John de LaSalle carnival, the Falls has had little success in recent years replicating large-scale events like the former Festival of Lights.

That winter event drew hundreds of thousands of people each year, but languished at the end of its two-decade run.

“You have to have something other than government doing this,” said Councilman Sam Fruscione.

In Lewiston, where a three-day jazz festival draws more than 30,000 people, paid staff at the Lower Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce organize the event. The festival also had a $70,000 sponsorship from the New York Power Authority.

The tourism board is organizing a jazz festival in Niagara Falls between Sept. 16 and 23 that would honor musicians that once played at the Ontario House on Main Street.

Bradberry said he is working with representatives from the Niagara Falls State Park to locate one of the festival’s events on Prospect Point or Goat Island. Venues will also include the site of the former Ontario House and Duck Island in Hyde Park.

Bradberry hopes the event will grow in future years to attract out-of-town visitors.

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