You will have noticed, due to lack of promotions, invitations to volunteer or to donate, that there will be no River Festival in 2011. From a report in the Napa Valley Register (April 23, 2011):
“Friends of the Napa River is canceling this year’s Napa River Festival on Labor Day weekend, citing a shortage of donations.
“It’s a sad decision that we had to come to and it’s mostly related to the financial situation,” said Bernhard Krevet, president of Friends of the Napa River.
The festival comes with a price tag of about $80,000 for lighting, sound and fees to the Napa Valley Symphony, the featured performers, Krevet said.
In the past, donations from corporate and individual sponsors yielded enough to cover the event’s costs, Krevet said. Today’s difficult economic times have made it harder to get financial support, he added.
Because some pledged funds from cash-strapped sponsors never materialized, Friends of the Napa River would be about $10,000 in the red if it forged ahead with this year’s festival, he said.
The free Labor Day festival has an approximately 20-year history, organized by Friends of the Napa River. Last year’s event drew an estimated crowd of more than 6,000 to downtown, according to organizers.
This will be the fourth time that the festival has skipped a year. Third Street bridge construction put the brakes on the 2001 festival. Flood control work in and around Veterans Memorial Park foiled the 2006 and 2007 events.
If money can be found, Krevet said the festival will return in 2012.
Moira Johnston Block, a founding member of Friends of the Napa River who serves on the group’s advisory board, said she is “terribly sad” about this year’s cancellation. But she remains enthusiastic about the organization’s overall mission.
She calls the festival “the crown jewel of the revitalizing riverfront.”
“We’re a modest volunteer nonprofit group that works very hard, and never with enough funding, but I think that’s so true of many (organizations) like ours,” she said. “During this recession, it’s harder and harder for our non-professional staff and our volunteers who devote themselves to fundraising.”