Wednesday, Oct. 6, the Potterville Area Chamber of Businesses met to discuss and decide whether or not its annual Gizzard Fest event would take place in summer of 2017. The decision was unanimously made to put the event on hold next year.
“It was a tough decision, but I think it was the right decision,” said Ron Kline, president of the Potterville Chamber of Business. “It just wasn’t feasible for 2017.”
The decision was made due to various factors surrounding the event. Chairman Joe Bristol, who ran the committee for Gizzard Fest for nearly 20 years, discontinued his leadership in organizing the event for personal reasons. Kline noted that preparing for Gizzard Fest was a 24/7 commitment throughout the year, and applauded Bristol for taking that responsibility for so many years.
Low attendance, businesses losing money overall, competition with other local events, and changes to previously used locations were also factors influencing the chamber’s decision.
Despite the difficulty of the decision and the obvious potential for disappointed community members, Kline remains optimistic and confident both in the decision itself and in the future of Gizzard Fest. As of now, Kline indicated that Gizzard Fest could make a return in 2018, and he believes it will be a rejuvenated and polished return. The goals moving forward are to find someone willing to organize the event, incorporate more community involvement and energy, and possibly rebrand the event. Not having the event in 2017 will give the chamber ample time to brainstorm ideas for future festivals.
“We’re just in the very beginning stages. We’ll look at new ideas going forward. It’ll be bigger and better when it comes back,” said Kline.
Providing a new and improved Gizzard Fest will be dependent on several things, according to Kline. One of the biggest concerns facing the event is the loss of space. Maximizing space and resources will be the only way the festival survives and returns in years to come. Working around dates of other summer events will also be a consideration for future festivals, as will the addition and subtraction of certain activities and smaller events.
Kline isn’t concerned with locals and visitors losing interest in Potterville in Gizzard Fest’s absence. He recognizes and appreciates the small town atmosphere, which is why he believes the future of the festival isn’t in jeopardy. He knows the brainstorming, planning, rebranding, and revitalization of this unique festival is going to come from the community.