The Odessa Record -

Future of Fest discussion meant to jump start prep work


--Photos for The Record by Terrie Schmidt-Crosby.

Stakeholders in Deutschesfest and other citizens interested in helping it succeed gathered Sunday in the community center to jump start preparations for this year's festival.

A fairly good-sized crowd gathered in the Odessa Community Center Sunday to discuss the increasingly precarious financial situation of the Odessa Chamber of Commerce. Declining attendance at the Deutschesfest over the past several years has turned the community's once-largest money-maker into an also-ran now being outperformed by the hospitality tent sent up at the site of the Stumpjumper Motorcycle Club's Desert 100 endurance race in the spring.

Odessa Chamber of Commerce president Zach Schafer led the meeting and had printouts available to every person who attended showing the income and expenses that went into Fest this past year, as well as snapshots of bottom-line figures from the past seven years.

Chamber president Zach Schafer chaired the meeting.

In 2016, the Chamber spent $56,281 to bring in its lowest profit margin ever, $7,326. The previous low was $12,974 in 2013. Schafer said that spending tens of thousands of dollars to make less than $10,000 makes little economic sense. He urged every citizen with an interest in Fest to redouble their efforts to bring friends and family to town for that big weekend in September and to begin right now the work of publicizing, preparing and brainstorming once again to make Fest the premier event that it once was.

Breakout sessions allowed those present to visit various stations around the room to write down their ideas for Fest on butcher paper that covered each table. Those ideas will be collected and printed in The Record at a later date.

From now until September, The Record will also keep Fest at the forefront of everyone's attention by reporting on anything that goes on that has to do with the groups or individuals involved. Next week, we will have a complete roster of the committee chairs and how to reach each of them.


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