The Allied Gardens SpringFest board will meet later this month to discuss the future of the two-day celebration, SpringFest president Sherry Kelly said in a May 21 interview.
The 14th annual SpringFest, held last weekend, featured a parade, midway games, carnival rides, a beer-and-wine garden, music, and a May 18 "distress call" from event planner Don Brennan. He took the stage after the Beatles tribute band Help! ended their second set.
Usually, onstage announcements acknowledge organizers, sponsors, and volunteers. "SpringFest may go away," Brennan told the audience. He referred to changes made by the San Diego City Council in 2010, a fee structure, and costs that changed from a "couple hundred" to thousands. Brennan urged people to go to the Navajo Events website and "tell what SpringFest means" to them. "We need support," Brennan said. He praised the support of businesses and volunteers and went on to say, “We're losing our communities."
Brennan said he lives in the same Allied Gardens house he grew up in and asked for audience input. "This is a distress call," he said.
Del Cerro Action Council president Jay Wilson and Sherry Kelly are members of Navajo Community Planners, Inc., and colleague Steve Grimes asked at the May 20 planning-group meeting about Brennan's statements. Kelly said the issues were "too much bureaucratic red tape" and "volunteers — people are not stepping up."
Kelly elaborated on those remarks on May 21, saying that paperwork included City of San Diego forms for parks, events, and the Commission for Arts and Culture. While volunteers show up at event time, “We would like to have people come forward and want to help" in advance, she said.
A third issue is the lack of additional corporate sponsorship. Current sponsors include Windmill Farms, the Allied Gardens Recreation Council, and the Kaiser Foundation. There are also smaller donations from small businesses and they "are so much appreciated," said Kelly.
She said former 7th District councilwoman Judy McCarty and Sally Madaffer started SpringFest as a community celebration. Madaffer belonged to the Kiwanis Club of Grantville-Allied Gardens and volunteered to form a committee to hold a celebration with a parade, according to the Kiwanis website. Kiwanis sponsored the SpringFest's early years.
Kelly became involved in 2006, and SpringFest is now a nonprofit organization. She noted that youth groups benefit from a portion of midway proceeds.
Furthermore, participants like Candy Kalman serve several functions. Before marching in the 2013 parade with a large gray cat named Sweet Pea on her shoulder, Kalman set up flags. The Reader contacted Brennan on May 21. He said there was "one little line" of support on the website and that he was working and didn't have time to talk until next week.