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Dogwood Arts Festival parade cancelled for next year | Community Spirit

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Dogwood Arts Festival parade cancelled for next year
Dogwood Arts Festival parade cancelled for next year

There will be something missing from next year's Dogwood Arts Festival.

Because of a shifting focus for the festival and dwindling support, officials say they will no longer be hosting the annual parade down Gay Street.

"Over the last 4 years, parade applications have dropped from a high of 82 to a low of 42 this past year. Helium prices have sky rocketed and has been difficult to access for recreational use. The number of bands have declined from 9 in 2009 to 2 this past year with no local bands participating in 2012. Last year, we had 8 performing units and 26 commercial vehicles participating for the advertising exposure. The parade committee worked hard recruit local bands, floats, performing units and wanted more helium balloons," said Lisa Duncan, executive director of the festival in a statement.

Duncan said the festival has evolved over the past 52 years, with the focus always being on the arts, against the backdrop of the area's natural beauty.

In 2008, festival organizers introduced five new components, which Duncan said had proved very successful: Rhythm N Blooms Music Festival, Chalk Walk, Bikes & Blooms, Studio Art DeTour and Bazillion Blooms.

"They all have tremendous growth potential, build community pride and generate a positive social and/or economic benefit for our community," said Duncan.

Last year, the festival added culinary and literary arts, and they plan to add more film components next year.

"Our vision is to establish Knoxville as a national arts destination and we are allocating our human and financial resources accordingly," said Duncan.

The festival hosted 19 events in 2012, with an army of volunteers and resources for each of them.  Cancelling the parade will allow them to better use those resources.

"Our vision is to establish Knoxville as a national arts destination and the programs we cancelled do not meet our criteria to do so. The Dogwood Arts staff spent over 840 hours on the 3 events we cancelled. These staff hours will be reallocated to events that make a greater impact on our community," said Duncan.

In addition to the parade, the festival will no longer host the Dogwood Mile, a race that happened while Gay Street was  closed for the parade.  The Diva Luncheon was also not included in the 2013 budget.


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