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FC Chamber Ends Polly Crockett Festival

Posted on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 10:39 am



brian justice


After 32 years, the Polly Crockett and Tennessee History Festival is no more.

The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the annual historically themed crafts fair and family oriented event held in September, has crunched numbers from recent years, and the Board of Directors agreed the cost to put on the show was not amortized in its financial return.

“That pretty much sums it up,” Chamber President Dave VanBuskirk said Friday. “It was costing us a lot, and the Chamber has decided that this year, we’re going to focus on local businesses and government issues that affect them and concentrate on other areas where money could be better spent.”

Judy Taylor, Chamber executive director, said the Polly Crockett Festival, which has been held in Cowan the past nine years, has taken about seven months to organize and has consumed considerable Chamber manpower every year it is held.

She said the annual September event only netted between $4,000 and $5,000 this past year, and it would need at least an $8,000 profit for the board to consider continuing with it.

Taylor said the crafts element has declined in recent years, and rain occurred the last time the event was held and reduced attendance, leading to decreased revenue.

“With the declining amount of original crafters and increased time to plan and implement the festival, our Board of Directors voted unanimously to bring a close to the event,” she said.

Taylor said that although the festival has come to an end, it had its strong points.

“Everybody in the world was good to us,” she said, referring to how the festival was received. “But this was a real big manpower event, and the board decided our time would be better spent with industry.”

Taylor said the Chamber has a busy agenda anyway in attempting to recruit industry and working toward improving the local business climate. She added that the Polly Crockett Festival, with the extensive time required to put it on, was a drain on the organization’s resources.

Taylor said the festival has had a stellar history — from the 12 years it was held in Decherd to being moved to the former Franklin County High School campus before its transition to Cowan nine years ago.

She said it was a bitter-sweet move to end the festival, but the Board of Directors is charged with doing what’s in the Chamber’s best interest, and doing something different emerged at the forefront.

Taylor said the board is considering having another event during the third weekend in September because those who have attended the Polly Crockett Festival were used to marking their calendars for that weekend.

She said the board will be considering something that will be a better revenue generator without the extensive man-hour requirement. She added that the board is open to suggestions for the next chapter in the Chamber’s entertainment history.

Taylor said those who have suggestions about what the Chamber might be able to do for a replacement event should email or call 967-6788.

She extended a thank you to those who have helped make past festivals so memorable.

“So many gave so much for so long and once again, I want to thank each individual sponsor, visitor or participant for your contribution and loyalty to the Polly Crockett and Tennessee History Festival for the past 32 years,” Taylor said. “The festival has inspired so many individuals in Franklin County to volunteer their time — quality artisans, delicious food vendors serving unique specialties, which have all been a tremendous part of the success of the festival in the past.”