Monday, April 9, 2012

Caribbean Carnival cancelled this year due to budget issues

At tonight's Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force meeting, DC Caribbean Carnival organizer Roland Barnes announced that the event will go on indefinite hiatus starting this year, reports Housing Complex:

"Unless someone is able to wave a magic wand in the next 24 hours, there will be no parade on Georgia Avenue," Barnes said mournfully. "The reality of the last few years was that donations and sponsorships were in one direction, and costs were in another direction."

The parade is still about $200,000 in debt to the city, Barnes said, and would need at least that much again in order to put on the parade, which had been scheduled for June 23 and 24. While previous mayors have done what it took to make the event happen, this administration isn't interested.

"We have seen a 180-degree turn in terms of support for this event," added the event's executive director, Loughton Sargeant. "It was only a matter of time before the city was going to pull the plug."

The news comes after the release of a study by the Howard University School of Business quantifying the Festival and Parade's impact on local businesses. Researchers estimated last year's attendance at 400,000 attendees—which seems high—and figured they spent $21,637,166 total, generating $1,298,230 in sales taxes. Needless to say, every single one of the 50 businesses surveyed was in favor of continuing the parade, and even extending its route (it had to be cut short on account of finances last year).

Update: DCist reports that the festival itself may happen, just not the parade.

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