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Gary Gearhart, La Salle County Historical Society board member, on Wednesday said the historical society brought in more money and had more paying vendors Oct. 13 than it ever had in the 44-year history of the Burgoo Festival.
Acting president Mary Small said “everything went beautifully,” with “outstanding weather and crowds,” according to a press release.
Judy Chalfant, society treasurer, verified that all financial totals from previous Burgoo festivals were greatly exceeded, Gearhart said, adding that this year’s celebration doubled the previous year’s revenue for the historical society.
A 50-50 drawing paid out more than $1,000, and “better accountability and oversight resulted in parking revenue increasing from $330 to more than $4,000,” Gearhart said. “Financial success of Burgoo will help the society immensely as it continues to expand and improve our ability to display our county’s interesting history to the public through our expanded campus,” board member Steve Aubry said in the press release.
“Society members all attribute the increased crowds … and vendors primarily to the tireless efforts of their recently departed president Douglas Holland, who personally oversaw every aspect of the event,” Gearhart said Wednesday.
The number of vendors paying fees to the historical society increased from about 230 in 2012 to more than 330 this year, Gearhart said.
Completion of the indoor Canal Market, a large former lumber yard shed — a project conceived and directed by Holland — “resulted in more and improved vendors and was an enormous success,” said board member Susan Thornton.
The renovated structure provides a steady revenue generator for future Utica and society events, Gearhart said.
Next year’s Burgoo has been set for Oct. 11.
“A stronger and better foundation for our future growth and expansion is now in place, and the society will go forth with a heavy heart, never forgetting the recent efforts of its fallen leader who did so very much to ensure the future greatness of Burgoo and the county museum,” Gearhart wrote.
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