The changes were discussed during the authority’s monthly meeting Tuesday, Feb. 5, during which time the DDA’s original plans for an arts and crafts-only Dogwood Festival in April were scrapped in favor of combining the new effort with the already-popular Memorial Day-season Music on the Square festival, which will take place May 18.
The decision to combine the Dogwood Festival idea, which was originally slated to take place April 6, with the Music on the Square event came about in part because of how closely together the two large affairs were scheduled and thus, how difficult it would be for the city and the DDA to pull off two large shows back-to-back.
“It’s going to be a tough year for sponsors,” said DDA chairman Mike Lovelady. “For us to go after vendors and turn around and they’re right behind us trying to go after vendors and acts, we’ll just join forces with that.”
The new show will still feature plenty of music, but will also highlight local artists and artisans. LaFayette Main Street director Matthew Williams expects to have space for up to 60 art or food vendors. Because of the expanded scope, the DDA feels that a name other than Music on the Square would be more appropriate, and could be used to promote the event for years to come.
“A town that has a spring festival,” said Williams, “one that has a cute name will always do better than one that just says ‘spring festival’ because people like it.” Although no new name has yet been decided, “it’s a good thing to do so it’s recognizable,” said Williams.
Other new DDA events begun in recent years will continue as planned in the spring and summer of 2013. As with last year, the popular car shows will take place the first weekend of the month, while the family movie nights in Joe Stock park will be scheduled for the third weekend of each month. Williams expects the car shows to begin in May, while the first movie night will likely be in June.
Before the start of a new series of summer events, however, a brand-new event sponsored by the DDA will be inaugurated in Joe Stock park on March 30: a family-friendly Easter egg hunt. Williams and the city of LaFayette are organizing the event, which will feature five age categories and 5,000 eggs, along with a few special “golden egg” door prizes.
On a more serious note, the Downtown Development Authority will be hosting a public meeting Thursday evening, Feb. 21, to brainstorm and discuss ways to make downtown LaFayette parking more efficient and accessible. Parking, especially on the square, has become incredibly scarce even during regular business hours; the crowd of cars during special events is even more prohibitive. The most likely course of action the DDA recommends will be to add signage that limits most spots to two-hour parking only; the meeting seeks to gain public input on this idea as well as the creation of new ones.