$1 for Friday Dance, $1 for Saturday Festival

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – During a Grapeland Noon Lions Club meeting held on Thursday, Aug. 3, Lions Club President Mike Goolsby informed club members of a new development with the Peanut Festival.

“Because of increased expenses, mostly related to security and other things, the (Grapeland) Chamber (of Commerce) has implemented a $1 entry donation to get into the park that day (Saturday). So, there is an admission fee to come to the Peanut Festival, effective this year,” Goolsby said.

Grapeland Chamber of Commerce President Pat McNieve confirmed the admission fee later that same afternoon.

He said a $1 entry fee would be charged for both the Friday night dance and the Saturday festival.

Asked why the chamber had implemented the admission charge, McNieve said it was “… to help pay for expenses.”

“The city has instituted a charge for the rental of the City Park. It is due to increasing costs being incurred by the Peanut Festival Committee for having the festival. The city is trying every way they can to raise revenue, so we’re paying for the rental of the City Park this year,” he said.

McNieve stressed this should be viewed more as a donation than a fee.

“Basically it’s a $1 donation. If someone says they’re not going to pay for that, we’re not going to keep them out. There is no real way to enforce this. People can walk into the City Park from several different avenues,” he said.

While the fees will go to help offset costs, McNieve indicated if someone chooses not to pay the fee, the festival goer would not be denied access to the park.

The chamber president was also questioned if there would be a re-entry fee should an attendee decide to leave the park and return later.

“Our thoughts were we’re going to get a peanut stamp to stamp a person’s hand. No, there would not be a re-entry fee charged, if you had a stamp. We’re trying to find a peanut stamp, anyway,” he said with a laugh.

“We made less on the Peanut Festival last year and had more people,” McNIeve added. “At some point in time, the chamber is going to have to try and recoup some expenses. If it doesn’t work, we may not do this (charge admission) next year.”

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.