By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MASON - After months of uncertainty over the 2004 Heritage Festival, the city and the Mason Landen Kings Chamber of Commerce have taken up the cause.
The city will provide $35,000 in funding, as well as in-kind services and liability coverage. The chamber staff is going to give part-time administrative support and office space for a newly created event committee, which will eventually take on other community events as well. That volunteer committee will be chaired by Tom Kaper, a Deerfield Township resident and account representative for Bear Productions. It will be a chamber subcommittee until December, during which time the event committee will become an independent, non-profit organization.
"We didn't have a vehicle to do this," Mayor Peter Beck said. "The chamber provides that vehicle. We're trying to make it a win-win for the community."
The Heritage Festival has undergone several name changes since starting 39 years ago.
In January, City Manager Scot Lahrmer told council the volunteer group that was in charge was no longer interested in leading the event. Chamber president John Harris says the agreement with the city is not a change of heart from earlier sentiments, when he said the chamber did not want to be in charge either.
"We're not going to plan it and we're not going to run it," Harris said. "It's still going to be run by volunteers. The only thing we are offering, to make sure the Heritage Festival went on this year, is administrative support. .... If (the festival) would have went away, it would have never come back."
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