Council approves Big Valley Jamboree sponsorship
The City of Camrose will be sponsoring a meal for those attending the 2012 Big Valley Jamboree kick-off party Aug. 2.
Camrose City council has directed City administration to draw $12,500 from general operating reserves to cover the expense of providing beef on a bun and salads to the first 1,500 guests who pass through the gate.
Mayor Marshall Chalmers feels the sponsorship is a good opportunity for the City of Camrose to step forward and show leadership.
"It is a way to thank those that organize the event and it is a way to thank people for the millions they have spent in our community."
The request for sponsorship was presented at council's June 11 meeting by Panhandle Productions producer Larry Werner.
"The intent is to do something different," said Werner.
"We want to get people out of the campgrounds and taking part in the Jamboree events earlier."
Werner said the City of Camrose would have an opportunity to set up a booth and display banners to let people know that it is sponsoring the meal. He also noted that the City of Camrose would be included in the CISN Country 103.9 radio campaign that will promote the kickoff party.
"It is all about making this a partnership. We want to make sure the City comes on board and gets its share of the exposure."
Councillor Brandon Blatz said he has no problem with the sponsorship request, noting that Big Valley Jamboree is the biggest show in town.
"It wouldn't make sense if the City of Camrose did not support this."
City of Camrose economic development officer Ray Telford recommended that council decline the sponsorship request. He said the City of Camrose has not budgeted funds for this type of sponsorship and the community assistance fund has been reduced to a current balance of $3,900.
Telford said if the City was to sponsor the kick-off meal it would be hard to determine the return on investment.
"All of the advertising already mentions the city of Camrose as the location of the event."
Councillor Gerry Galenza said while council has handcuffed administration by providing only a certain amount for sponsorships, the City has been able to find dollars for other high profile events, including the performance by the Canadian Snowbirds.
"We found the money, we did it and it was a positive thing for the community."
Galenza mentioned that Big Valley Jamboree and Panhandle Productions have made an investment of more than $3 million in the Camrose Regional Exhibition grounds, which are owned by the City, and that Big Valley Jamboree, according to numbers provided by Alberta Tourism, has a $9 million impact on the community.
Galenza noted at the beginning of the meeting that Panhandle Productions is owned by the Camrose Regional Exhibition, a non profit organization.
"It was taken over by the CRE because there was a danger of it not being around."
Councillor Daryl Shillington said while the Big Valley Jamboree is a tremendous world class event, it would have been fairer to the other community organizations in Camrose had Panhandle Productions approached the City with its request for sponsorship last fall.
"My only concern and disappointment is that you did not come at budget time."
Werner said at the time the City budget was being discussed Panhandle Productions thought it had a different sponsor.
He added that typically, Panhandle Productions tries to do as much as possible on its own.
Councillor Ray McIsaac said the sponsorship is a good deal for the City.
"If the Jamboree has 82,000 patrons over the four days, that works out to a cost of 15 cents per head."
Big Valley Jamboree has become one of the most respected country music festivals in North America, and over the years has been a must-attend destination for millions of loyal music lovers. Big Valley Jamboree has won the coveted Canadian Country Music Association's event of the year five times since 2001.