Mount Airy Rotary Club members appeared pleased with the annual Budbreak Festival wrap up report given by event spokesperson Sue Brownfield at the group’s regular lunch meeting Tuesday.
“The food was great and how about our entertainment,” said Brownfield, who explained vendors had long lines for the event as attendance increased 40 percent. She praised performers Bobby Keys, saxophone player with the “Rolling Stones,” the Mediocre Bad Guys, Melva Houston and Eric Chilton and the Chill tones for keeping the crowds entertained at the May 3 event as well as thanking volunteers who supported the fifth festival which added craft beers to it’s typical wine offerings.
This year, the Budbreak Wine Festival added a large food tent with tables, situated within easy viewing distance of the entertainment. The music location onto Main Steet and a large tent was added to encourage participants to, bring their lawn chairs, relax and enjoy the afternoon. The annual event is held in cooperation with the Mount Airy Downtown Business Association and featured around 15 North Carolina wineries, food vendor local artists.
Brownfield said sponsorships this year totaled $11,733, which included non-cash donorships amounting to $3,483. She said ticket sales this year amounted to $27,996 as compaired to $19,799 in 2013. Brownfield said the group’s decision to drop a Friday night awards dinner helping to boost the overall bottom line. She said the group netted $20,991 compared to last year’s net of $13,223. In 2012, the event’s net was $5,352 as rain-impacted participation.
One of the areas Brownfield said organizers intend to improve on is the “will call” service. She later explained participants may purchase bottles of wine which are stored in a secure area by festival volunteers for pickup later on with identification tags given to the purchaser and tagged on the purchases. She said they hope to double this service next year because of favorable comments from participants.
Other discussion centered on less volunteers for set up and more volunteers for clean up, adding more jazz performers, tying the group’s name to the event more closely and increasing advertising to large, urban markets. A symbolic check for $20,000 was presented to the group for use supporting local and international charities.
Several members commented on advance ticket sales being crucial to the event’s success and the group appeared to agree this year was a “watershed” year for the festival, with success signaling them to continue.
“Twenty-thousand dollars is great,” said Rotary President Jim Petelle. “This helps us support a lot of charities in Surry County as well as internationally.”
The meeting opened with check presentations to the Shepherd’s House and United Fund of Surry. The Shepherd’s House is a 24-hour homeless shelter designed to help its clients get back on their feet through programs that emphasize discipleship, financial responsibility, hard work, and discipline. The group provides services including housing, food, clothing, counseling, transportation and assistance with social services applications and job applications. Pastor and Executive Director Phil Goble accepted on behalf of the Shepherd’s House.
United Fund of Surry Director Beth Pequeno accepted $2,000 from the Rotarians to support the group. Some of the 26 member agencies the fund helps support include the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Yokefellow, Surry Senior Center and Pilot Mountain Senior Center, Surry Medical Ministries, Children’s Center of Surry, Mountain Valley Hospice as well as five local rescue squads and the Charles Stone Library Reading Program.
David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.