By Becky Killian / Editor
The Corbin Tourism and Convention Commission voted to give $15,000 to the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce for this year’s NIBROC festival — which is $10,000 less than the commission had budgeted for the event.
The 3-2 vote came during the commission’s Tuesday meeting after a presentation by Josh Curry, the chamber’s president.
Curry was told the chamber could return to the commission to ask for the remainder of the sponsorship once the chamber has a better idea of the festival’s budget and sponsorship contributions.
In his presentation, Curry said the carnival will remain intact although the festival will have a “significant reduction” in the space for vendors. He said the number of vendors will likely be reduced from about 100 to about 60.
Curry also emphasized that the city’s leaders didn’t demand the festival eliminate or reduce the number of commercial vendors — they simply suggested they would like to see more local vendors.
In listening to the public’s concerns about the festival at a recent public meeting, Curry said a good selection of vendors offering diverse foods is wanted. Festival-goers also want entertainment.
Curry said he is working with Corbin Main Street Manager Andy Salmons to get musical groups for the festival. Possible entertainment options range from a variety of local groups to a better-known regional group, depending upon the festival’s sponsorships.
In years past, Curry said big national acts — like Styx — brought more corporate sponsorships to the festival since companies saw it as a way to reward their employees. Those sponsorships — along with the support of the tourism commission — brought up to $80,000 to the festival. As a result, Curry said the chamber could see a decline in sponsorships in addition to reduced proceeds from vendors since there won’t be as many booths.
“This is not going to be the NIBROC of years before,” Curry said.
Curry provided a map of the festival’s layout, which puts the vendors in a space between Gordon and Monroe streets. The carnival will remain on Depot Street from Gordon Street south.
The chamber uses proceeds from the festival to fund its educational efforts. With a reduced festival, Curry said the chamber’s annual banquet could become the group’s bigger fundraiser.
Next year, the chamber may want to hand off the festival to another group, Curry said, adding the chamber would be willing to assist with the festival. One factor playing into that decision is the chamber’s extended reach beyond Corbin to Williamsburg.
Curry asked for $25,000 from the commission.
Financial advisor Kyle Perkins told the commission its budget includes $25,000 for NIBROC. He added the potential for reduced attendance at the festival could result in less restaurant tax collected. Also, Perkins said Corbin’s attorney, Bob Hammons, had said tourism may need event insurance for any event it sponsors.
A majority of the commission then voted to give $15,000 to the chamber for NIBROC.
The commission also voted to approve its 2013-2014 budget, which includes $1,249,500 in revenue and $1,246,967 in expenses.
While the budget is similar to the current fiscal year’s budget, Perkins said it does project about $60,000 more revenue because of restaurants that have recently opened in the city, including Hillbilly’s, Froyoz and the Subway at Forest Hills.
Salmons updated the commission on the city’s events, including the new Farmer’s Market held on Tuesday’s in downtown Corbin. He said the market continues to grow and he projects it should have 20 farmers soon. Moonbow Nights will be held on Saturday, June 22, and Salmons said a Facebook post about a Sept. 21 “Color Run” has already generated a significant number of hits. He said the run, in which volunteers douse runners with colored powder, could be a big draw for the city.
The commission also approved giving $2,000 to the Whitley County Fair Board.