The Groton Board of Trade’s run up to Grotonfest, scheduled for Saturday September 22, kicked off this morning with a press conference hosted by Jane Bouvier, GBoT Vice President, at the Main Street Café.
Last fall’s sequence of soggy Saturdays and Sundays forced three rain postponement and reduced attendance and that shrank this year’s budget, she said. “This year, the budget for Grotonfest is very tight due to last year’s rain. A number of businesses had to be comped on the cost of their booths, since they were not able to attend the final rain date of last year’s festival,” Bouvier said. This year’s rain date is Sunday the 23rd.
Grotonfest has been around for 34 years. It was originally called Septemberfest and was started by the Groton Center for the Arts. In the beginning it was mostly a cultural event with expenses covered by a grant from the Groton Cultural Center. The first business to become involved was the Concord Cooperative Bank, which helped pay for bigger name musicians. Since then, there has been more effort to include more businesses in the festival.
“Grotonfest presents a great venue to highlight local businesses,” Bouvier said, making it natural fit with the GBoT. “The Groton Board of Trade has provided strong organizational support with the assistance of Mike Rasmussen, Steve Webber and Peter Myette.”
This year, the Groton Garden club will have a booth at Grotonfest to kick off its 90th anniversary, one of about 150 booths. About two thirds are sponsored by local businesses, non-profits, and groups. The remainder are still held by artists and craftspeople demonstrating their skills and selling their wares. More than 5,000 people are expected to attend this year, filling Legion Common to the brim.
This is the second year that Grotonfest has been under the umbrella of the Groton Board of Trade. With its 60 paid members and 45 active members, Bouvier is hoping to field a much larger group of volunteers to help with Grotonfest this year, and is actively recruiting. In particular, she needs help with putting banners up and setting up, she said.
Artists can rent a booth for $95 and if they do demonstrations during Grotonfest, the fee is waived. A business sponsorship is $250 and that investment yields a booth, a banner behind the stage, and recognition on the flyers.