The Odessa Record -

By Lise Ott 

Guest editorial

A Fest for the rest

 


People of Odessa, we have reached a turning point. Well, perhaps I should say that we have reached an intersection. It’s up to this community, not just a few people, to decide which way to go. Each and every one of you will have the opportunity to help make that decision January 29.

For 45 years, Deutschesfest has been Odessa’s biggest and best-known community event, at one time bringing thousands of people to our town to enjoy a day or a weekend, to eat great food, meet great people, and, not coincidentally, fill the coffers of local non-profits, including churches, fraternal organizations and school-affiliated groups. And I’m not afraid to say that Deutschesfest is a wonderful weekend for several local businesses.

The Odessa Chamber of Commerce was instrumental in starting this special event, and has continued, over the last four and a half decades, to ensure that Deutschesfest continues to take place. Unfortunately, over the past several years, the profitability of the Chamber’s portion of the event, the Biergarten, has declined at an alarming rate. We currently don’t know if the other organizations involved have been seeing the same decline. I can state with certainty that while profits at the Biergarten have declined, gross sales at Experience Quilts! have increased.

While the Chamber of Commerce makes (or should make) most of its annual revenue from the Deutschesfest Biergarten, it also shoulders the burden of outside-of-the-Biergarten expenses that help make this event possible. Expenses that everyone who has a stake in the event benefits from, such as advertising the event, outdoor entertainment, maintaining the sound system that broadcasts music and announcements, and possibly most important of all, porta-potties.

Perhaps the decline in profits, most noticeable this past year, have been due to competing events, or bad weather, or who knows what. There are as many possible explanations as there are people in Odessa. That being said, do we throw up our hands in despair and walk away from an event that has served our community so well for so long?

I say NO! I will be at that meeting at the Community Center on January 29. It starts at 2 p.m. We are hoping for participation not only from Chamber members and groups that benefit directly from Deutschesfest. We want people who have never participated before. We want people who have been participating for the past 45 years. We want people who know how it was done before, and we want people who have new ideas and a fresh perspective.

In short, we want you!

 

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