Merchant Street Music Festival (copy)

If you attended the Merchant Street MusicFest held in downtown Kankakee last month, you were hardly alone. Large crowds formed on both days, including Saturday, when this large throng moved about the festival grounds prior to dusk. Organizers placed the total attendance at about 10,500, an increase of about 500 over last year.

The two-night 2019 Merchant Street MusicFest attracted an audience of about 10,500 people, an organizer said this week.

Steve Bertrand, Kankakee Events Partnership Committee chairman, reported the July 26-27 downtown Kankakee three-stage event held in the Depot Park attracted a paying crowd of 9,000. Another 1,500 passes came through sponsorships.

Tickets for the event are $5 per person.

Bertrand said total attendance of 2019 versus 2018 increased by about 500.

“We have been blessed to have back-to-back years of great weather,” Bertrand said prior to last Monday’s Kankakee City Council meeting. “We hope this great weather holds out in coming years.”

The event, Kankakee’s largest annual community festival, also is supported by an estimated 300 volunteer workers. The workers do everything from ticket-taking, to selling beer, to cleaning the park to organizing performers.

“It was a very successful event this year, and as far as I could see, everyone had a good time,” he said.

According to city records, the MusicFest lost $12,623 this year. The losses were $2,203 and $20,300 in 2017 and 2018, respectively. The fest had a surplus of $6,202 in 2016. The deficits are offset by event rentals at the train depot during the course of the year.

“That’s not something we’re going to count on forever. We don’t want to get to the point where we have to go begging to the city, the library or the KDC (Kankakee Development Corporation),” Bertrand said. “We are re-evaluating the budgeting for next year to try to bring expenses down. We’re trying hard to keep admission at $5. The costs for lighting, staging and porta-potties keep going up. Sponsorships are flat.”

• • •

Speaking of community summertime gathering, Manteno will be hosting the third of its three summer concert series Rockin’ on the Square from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Aug. 16 at The Square on Second.

Manteno’s newly completed Second Street park will feature a bouncing pillow, zipline, fireplace and lighted fountain.

The group, Hey Jimmy will be performing live pop, rock and dance hits. Creme of the Crop food truck will be serving food, and Friends of the Library will be offering snacks and Love of Latte will be selling coffee and hot chocolate.

Sarah Marion, executive director the Manteno Chamber of Commerce, said the Aug. 16 event will feature for the first time a variety of vendors selling their products. On hand for the event will be KA CO Exchange, WaterStreet Btq, Gracie Pie Apothecary, Natural Formations Jewelry, Michaela Mantarian Flowers & Events and Crankstart Design.

The Daily Journal’s Lee Provost writes about local business rumors, comings and goings and other notes of interest regarding the local economy. Anyone with information to share should contact Provost at lprovost@daily-journal.com or 815-937-3364. A version of this story appeared in the Friday digital edition of the Daily Journal.

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