By SHERIDAN ROY
The Apple Harvest Festival committee announced at the Jan. 14 Town Council meeting that the 50th anniversary festival brought in a profit of $13,725. Altogether, the total revenue for the festival was $271,356, which was $16,106 over the budgeted and anticipated revenue amount.
“We are very pleased with this profit for the 50th anniversary festival,” said AHF committee chair Chris Palmieri. “We’d like to thank Emilia Portelinha and the finance department and Ann Anop for helping to streamline this process.”
Last year, the task of creating the AHF financial report was handed over from the festival committee to the town’s finance department in order to keep a predictable system and format for the report year to year.
The committee recommended Melissa Ericksen-Cocuzza for the position of sponsorship coordinator. Cocuzza was the sponsorship and festival coordinator for the 2018 festival and had several years of experience as the sponsorship coordinator prior to last year.
“Melissa did an exceptional job,” said Palmieri. “We acknowledge and thank her again for all her hard work on this festival.”
For the upcoming festival, there will be some structural changes to the position of the festival coordinator. The committee recommended tapping the town’s recreational department to utilize existing town resources to coordinate the event.
“This is one of the largest recreational events our town offers each year, so the committee discussed and we did put out a posting for the coordinator position,” said Palmieri. “After conversation, we had a consensus to make a recommendation to go a different route for next year.”
The employees in the recreation department are Dave Lapreay and Julia Berardinelli. The committee proposed a stipend paid for from the AHF budget for both employees. Lapreay’s stipend will be $15,000 and Berardinelli’s will be $5,000 for a total of $20,000.
Last year’s contract was $25,000, but Palmieri said some of the work will be done during the day, and they are already compensated for that.
Cocuzza did put in a proposal to again be the festival coordinator. Her low bid last year which was accepted was $25,000. The rate she offered was $4,400 less than the previous festival coordinator’s rate.
“I put in a low bid of $25,000 because I really wanted to run the festival after my involvement for seven years as sponsorship coordinator,” said Cocuzza. “For the festival’s 50th anniversary, many changes were made that generated more work that we were happy to do. This year, I was trying to put my two proposals more in line with the scope of work.”
Her proposal included two scopes of work: one at $29,900 including a line item option to assume all responsibilities for the website at $2,500. The second scope proposed a new expanded festival footprint to bring in a potential additional profit stream of upwards of $90,000, according to Cocuzza.
“The expansion of the project would therefore create more work to be done and managed,” she said. The second scope of work fee was $37,000.
Although the committee went with the lower bid, Palmieri acknowledged Cocuzza’s work, who brought in record sponsorships.
“We are fortunate to have the synergy with Melissa, who has already been approved for our sponsor coordinator,” he said. “She’s back with us in that role. Hopefully she’ll exceed the amount of sponsorship dollars she brought in this year. She did an exceptional job.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.