Brick officials have awarded a contract to LaGuardia & Associates, an entertainment management firm, to book acts for the 2018 Summerfest program.
The cost of the program will be $33,300, which includes the booking of four bands that will perform this season. The township is soliciting bids for a fireworks provider for Summerfest and Fall Fest. Last year’s fireworks contractor charged $19,995.
The actions of the council prompted some residents who attended a recent council meeting to question the financial status of Summerfest, which began under the administration of former mayor Joseph C. Scarpelli with about 10 events per year. It was later curtailed to three events by former mayor Stephen C. Acropolis, and a fourth was added under Mayor John Ducey.
“We do aggressive sponsorship for Summerfest and Fall Fest, and we have the bids that help pay for it,” said Council President Heather deJong.
While corporate and local sponsorships cover much of the cost, the annual summer program is not a money-maker for the township, Ducey said, though he did not have the exact numbers readily available.
The township has also defrayed some of the cost of the program in recent years by bidding out food and beverage vending services. Previously, nonprofit organizations in town served food and drinks as fundraisers.
This year, the township is seeking several vendors, including in various food categories. Last year, food vendor contracts produced a total of $7,920 for the township. The township is also seeking a vendor to run its beer and wine garden. Last year, the contract produced $6,000.
As for the $33,300 fee from LaGuardia, it was raised by about $3,000 this year, but Business Administrator Joanne Bergin said the amount generally has to do with which bands are booked and what they charge to perform.
“We have done Battle of the Bands and local bands at smaller-scale events, but we find that Summerfest requires a professional band,” she said. “We’ve found that we get great rates going through LaGuardia – better rates than we would pay if we contracted with [the bands] directly.”
The township is also seeking bids for an ice cream truck that will be able to sell ice cream and drinks at Windward Beach and Traders cove between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Last year, the contract yielded $657.