I hope to clear up some real misconceptions about this past weekend.
<<From what I understand, the $750 that the vendors pay is split in thirds; $250 to the Chamber, $250 to the City and $250 to MDA. You cannot blame the vendors for coming to an event to make money that they believe will feed their families while they feed others.>>
The fee the vendors at Washington Park paid is split three ways - 1/3 to the Parks Department, 1/3 to the Fall Ride Advisory Committee, who is responsible for paying for the additional law enforcement, event staffing, street cleanup, trash receptacles, portalets, etc., and 1/3 to the entity or person who located the vendors. The Chamber received a 10% fee for coordinating the vendors in Washington Park.
The Tomahawk Downtown Business Council and the Chamber share a beer tent Downtown during the Fall Ride. We make our annual contribution to MDA from the proceeds of the beer tent. We also make a significant contribution to the Fall Ride Advisory Committee, assisting with the expenses incurred during the event.
<<If you have a problem with the number of vendors coming to the Fall Ride then place the blame where it belongs...with the Chamber. They are the ones that allow the huge amount of vendors in and I believe they have not capped the number because they want more and more money coming in. >>
Hmmm - I'm not sure where you came up with this, but the Chamber is NOT involved with vendors. We assist the Fall Ride Advisory Committee in inviting and coordinating the non-profit groups that vend on Wisconsin Avenue, and we assisted with Washington Park. We are not involved with the vendors that are setup on private property - which are where all the vendors in town are setup. With the exception of Washington Park (this was the first year) and the non-profit groups Downtown, there is no vending allowed on public (City) property.
<<I also understand that the vendors in Washington Square/Toddler Park incurred a HUGE loss in income because they sold very little, despite the fact that they were led to believe that Washington Square is always filled with Harley riders and other's out to see the spectical, although I never recall the park ever being filled with people on Harley weekend.>>
Again, I'm not sure where you came up with this. The vendors in Washington, and the majority of vendors in town, had a poor weekend due to the weather. That is the risk taken in that type of business. In past years, the Chamber office has welcomed thousands of visitors during Harley weekend. The Chamber never said the park was filled with Harley riders - we did promote the location as a great spot for visibility. We also promoted the amount of traffic on 4th Street. We also worked significant hours to assist the vendors in Washington Park, ensuring they had everything they needed. The City increased electrical capacity; the Chamber promoted the vendors throughout the weekend. Unfortunately, we are unable to control the weather.
In working the City and the Advisory Committee, we hoped to raise money for the event. We committed our time and limited resources for an event we feel has a huge economic impact to the Community. It's a shame that some of businesses that directly benefit that weekend (such as taverns, restaurants, etc.) did not feel the same way and did not contribute the costs. While attendance may have been down this year, costs increased.
I hope I was able to clarify the Chamber's role for this event. If you have questions, I encourage you to call the Chamber office. Everyone at the Chamber (staff, volunteers, Board Members, Chamber Members) work very hard to promote Tomahawk and our business community. Misconceptions and inaccurate information tarnish the work we do for our many Members.
Executive Vice President
Tomahawk Regional Chamber of Commerce