Ypsilanti Heritage Festival

It may feel like winter outside, but organizers of the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival have summer - and the 2015 edition of the festival - on their minds.

Festival board president David Nickerson says they need lots of help from the community in order to put on a successful event.

Bob Eccles

When time for the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival rolls around again next summer Andrew Clock will not be at the helm as director.  Clock says festival's board president Wednesday night asked him to resign, and he agreed to step down.

 

Board president David Nickerson says it's been difficult for Clock to put the time and effort into the festival on an ongoing basis.

Bob Eccles

After some last-minute setting up of tents and displays, the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival is underway. 

The path to this year's festival was a bit bumpy, with some long-time participants striking out on their own and the city failing to consider a financial contribution in the form of a sponsorship to help offset the higher fees that all events held on city property are dealing with this year. 

Still, festival director Andrew Clock says they're ready to go.

ypsilantiheritagefestival.com

Organizers of this year's Ypsilanti Heritage Festival want the festival parade to spotlight the fun, creative side of the community.

"We really want to foster a little bit of that New Orleans spirit," festival director Andrew Clock says, "where neighborhoods come out and put together floats and acts just to say 'look how cool our neighborhood is'.  We've got a lot of that spirit in Ypsilanti, so we want to make the Heritage Festival parade the opportunity to do that."

Bob Eccles

This year's Ypsilanti Heritage Festival will look as bit different than in past years, as new attractions are added and others decide to strike out on their own.

Among the elements that won't be part of the festival this year is Chautauqua at the Riverside, which is moving to October this year. 

David Nickerson is chair of the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival board.

"With that being primarily presented at Riverside Arts, especially this last year we noticed that people weren't necessarily flowing up out of the park and to that event and to the venue," Nickerson says.

Bob Eccles

The Ypsilanti Heritage Festival made a plea to City Council Tuesday night to put a cap on the special event fees the city charges it. 

David Nickerson is Chair of the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival Board of Trustees.  He told council those fees represent 18 percent of festival expenses.

Nickerson requested that the city cap fees charged the festival at between $18,000 and $20,000.  Nickerson estimates next year's fees at between $25,000 and $28,000 otherwise. 

Mayor Paul Schreiber said he'd like to see the city make a contribution to the festival as a sponsor rather than just cap fees.

Council member Daniel Vogt said the city can't afford to subisidise the Heritage Festival unless the city can break even, perhaps by helping the festival find other areas in which to make cuts.

City staff will study the issue and come back to council with a recommendation at a later date.

Library of Congress

The annual Ypsilanti Heritage Festival kicks-off on Friday and the celebration will run through the weekend.  It's a perfect time to take a look back at some of the elements that have helped create the identity of this Washtenaw County community.


Bob Eccles

The 34th Annual Ypsilanti Heritage Festival kicks off today. WEMU's Bob Eccles has a preview.