It’s official: Portage Perch Fest is history
By John Robbins Post-Tribune correspondent August 16, 2012 5:20PM
Updated: September 18, 2012 6:18AM
PORTAGE — For those keeping track, what would have been the fourth annual Portage Perch Fest has gone fishing this year.
“Due to city budget constraints and financial losses incurred during previous Perch Fests, the city of Portage will not be sponsoring the festival in 2012,” said Mayor James Snyder.
The mayor’s office was unable to provide an estimate of past Perch Fest losses.
Portage has been awash in red ink for most of 2012 and has had to turn to bailouts from the city’s Utility and Redevelopment Commissions to stay afloat.
The Perch Fest was operated by the city’s Park Department in the past. It had been settled on and organized with the intention of creating, as former Mayor Olga Velazquez called it, “a signature event for Portage.”
The Perch Fest is not the first Portage Park Department budget casualty this year. In June Portage Community Theater lost its decade- long use of the Portage Yacht Club when the group was asked to pay rent they could not afford on the space they formerly used for free.
Snyder is not against future Perch Fests, “A community festival should be undertaken by a volunteer not-for-profit organization,” he said. Snyder is willing to partner with a group or organization that would assume a leadership role in organizing the event.
Mayoral Administrative Assistant Amanda Lakie says the city has already received several calls showing interest in helping organize and operate future Perch Fests. “It just shows how great the community is when people are calling in so quickly when they see a need,” said Lakie.