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Chamber of Commerce Director Kristal Pitzer talks about the city’s plans to change the venue for Colorfest.

Louisiana –  Deciding not to nix Colorfest for 2019 turned out to be more-or-less the easiest question on the table at a meeting of concerned citizens on Thursday.

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Cindy Blaylock.

The show will go on — with a slightly different tempo and a new location.

That’s necessary because of the disruption of Colorfest’s traditional venue occasioned by the Georgia Street Project. The aim of the project is to comprehensively overhaul Georgia Street. It will, as a side-effect, make the street distinctly unsuited to a seasonally appropriate good time come the fall.

First comes the big picture, strategic question: where should organizers put their energy to most effectively build the event. Colorfest needs a plan.

Chamber of Commerce Director Kristal Pitzer and Chamber President Cindy Blaylock  said that, given the difficulties already involved in putting on this year’s Colorfest, organizers would take their foot off the gas — keeping an eye out for good ideas and worthwhile initiatives but not pursuing, for instance, any more vendors than have already opted in for 2019.

Pitzer noted that number had already matched the number they had seen the year before.

The 2020 Colorfest would then be the opportunity for a real push for the festival — and a chance to introduce returning guests and new-comers to a city hopefully better off for all of the disruptive construction currently underway.

This year’s Colorfest needs a location.

The tricky question of where to locate Colorfest requires juggling a variety of different variables that make a sight more or less suitable.

“Its not as easy as just saying ‘we’ll pick it up and we’ll move it to Sunset Park,” Blaylock said. “Sunset Park has zero electricity and one water hydrant, very, very limited space and no parking,” Blaylock said.

The group ultimately decided to sound out the City Council on using Main Street as the center of Colorfest activities, with some parts of the festival snaking off onto adjacent streets. This would allow vendors to take advantage of the utilities put in by the city to allow this year’s Ribs on the River event to take place in roughly the same area.

This year’s Colorfest needs volunteers.

Blaylock and Pitzer emphasized that the core leadership of the group would not be able to capitalize on the ideas floated at the  meeting, and would be looking for individuals, business and civic groups to take charge of different events.

“I think a lot of the things that have been dropped is simply because of our manpower,” Blaylock said. “Its simply hard to make all of that stuff work when you have five people overseeing it.

Finally, this year’s Colorfest needs a theme — preferably one, the group decided, that winks at the city’s slightly dusty condition, between road improvements on every side and the construction of a new Champ Clark Bridge, while pointing to a hopeful future on the other side.

A contest to pick the theme starts this week and continues through July 24. The top three choices will be selected at another public meeting on July 25 and then presented to the Chamber Board for final approval.

The person who coins the winning theme will receive an award package from local businesspeople, according to Blaylock. Entries can be sent to Kristal Pitzer at the Louisiana Chamber of Commerce.

Send questions and comments to athorp@pikecountynews.com.

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