Granite Fest called off: Recession dooms event held since ’97
By Noelle Edwards
GRANITE QUARRY ó The town has canceled its annual Granite Fest, scheduled for September, because of ó wait for it ó the economy.
The festival has happened every year since 1997, though at the beginning it was called Fun Fest. In 2001, the town changed the name to Granite Fest, in honor of Granite Quarry’s centennial. The name stuck, and so did the tradition.
Until this year. Dan Peters, town manager, said the money the town normally spends on the festival just didn’t fit in the budget this year.
Normally the funding comes from the community events budget. This year, every department’s budget was cut a half percent.
Eliminating the festival means that $10,000 normally spent on entertainment and activities goes back into the general fund.
Plus, the police, fire, maintenance and other departments save the money they normally spend on the festival from their budgets.
Town staff discussed at a budget retreat in February the possibility of canceling the festival. They made the final decision in May.
Peters said the planning committee had already made preliminary preparations for the festival, and the decision to forego the event came right before the committee had to book the band.
When the town’s final budget was approved in June, Granite Fest was not part of it.
“We’ve had mixed feelings,” Peters said. “Most people understood.”
Peters said Granite Quarry is holding a miniature version of the festival as part of another town event: storytelling at Granite Lake Park.
The town is partnering with Rowan Public Library to hold storytelling for children from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 17.
After the storytelling, East Rowan High School’s chorus and several church choirs will sing, and then there might be bluegrass singing and picking afterwards.
For more information about the October event, call Susan Closner, Granite Quarry’s events coordinator, at 704-797-7683 ext. 204.
Peters said the real Granite Fest might be feasible next year, but no one is making a commitment.
“We’ll just have to look at the budget,” he said.