As the Dust Settles
by Kirby LindsayAlong with the regular, general business, the Fremont Chamber of Commerce board meeting on October 27th gave a majority of time to a re-cap of Oktoberfest, held in September, and the Fremont Fair, held in June – both produced by Bold Hat Productions on behalf of the Chamber.
Yet, safety and security issues also captured attention, due perhaps in part to the presence of a new face - Seattle Police Department (SPD) Community Police Team Officer Loren Street, now assigned to Fremont. Officer Street has served on the SPD for 17 years, all of them at the North Precinct, and worked a beat that covered Fremont during the late 1990s.
Officer Street stayed for the entire meeting – as he did the September Fremont Neighborhood Council meeting. He heard a report from the new Chamber safety committee, which met recently at Red Door, and dwelt on concerns about excessive litter at night. The Board also reported concerns over an increased number of transients in the neighborhood.
Officer Street observed the word-of-mouth that will spread information on places that tolerate camping - in cars, motor homes, or neglected areas. Property owners might consider cutting back shrubbery and lighting outdoor areas to improve visibility. Also, streets with unwanted camping vehicles can be posted for no parking from 2a – 5a.
What Went Around, Comes Again
Phil Megenhardt, of Bold Hat, distributed colorful handouts to meeting attendees as they saw a copy of a check for $46,871 - the funds raised for the Chamber through Oktoberfest 2010.
Oktoberfest grew this year, and Megenhardt particularly remarked about seeing “that kind of growth in a down economy.” Attendance increased, to 23,000 people, with 140,000 beer samples poured (559 kegs tapped.) Thankfully volunteerism also increased, as over 900 people gave time. This labor force, he emphasized, would have cost $100,000 to hire.
Megenhardt, as usual, also pointed to areas he’d like to improve in 2011 – including increasing efforts to work with neighbors, and incorporating more art. He described entertainment as “a challenge.” Board Member Rodman Miller asked that there be more “free stuff.”
Another handout Megenhardt distributed concerned the 2010 Fremont Street Fair, which Bold Hat produced after a late start. As a result, this year, they attempted only to maintain status quo. In 2011, they want to incorporate suggestions they’ve heard, and hear more, from the community. The Board agreed to distribute an on-line survey, and hold a community-wide forum for feedback on Fremont events.
The handout contained data collected from fairgoers – including that 40% visit the Fair every year but 39% attended for the first time ever. This means a new audience visits Fremont each year (also the case for Oktoberfest) and experiences what the neighborhood has to offer. When asked their favorite aspect of the Fair 48% of attendees chose the Solstice Parade, with 35% for shopping, 31% for music, 29% for food, 16% for Seattle Art Cars, 14% for beer gardens, and 5% for the Fremont Abbey Arts Center.
“I’m glad the Chamber has two solid events, in an uncertain economy,” Megenhardt admitted. He deliberately wrapped up after emphasizing to the Board the difference between Oktoberfest, which operates as a fundraiser, and the Fair, which serves as a neighborhood promotion, not a revenue generator.
To learn more, or give input, on all business of the Chamber, attend the next monthly board meeting. The meetings remain open to the public, and are held on the last Wednesday of the month (next one on November 24) at 8a at History House (790 N 34th.)
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.