The Regional Park Authority discussed a financial recap of this year’s Festival of Lights Monday with information presented by Ardmore Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mita Bates.
“Once again we had a great Festival of Lights,” Bates said.
The net income was slightly down, totaling more than $8,800. Bates said FOL typically nets between $9-10,000. The net income is based off of income ($13,076.74), expenses ($3,301.57) and sales tax ($929.49).
The display sponsorships and drive-thru donations reached the second highest amount since 2010 and while money raised through the FOL auction was down this year, Bates said it’s still holding steady. The auction income in 2010 was approximately $11,000 and reached its highest total in 2014 at about $17,700. The past two years the auction brought in around $13,000.
“We did have to move the auction this year to a different day and we were in direct competition with two different events that night so we know that did impact some of our attendance,” Bates said.
As far as display sponsorships go, $59,435 was brought in, which included 48 renewals and five new displays sold this year. Bates said there were no custom displays, but there is potential for one this year.
The drive-thru donations reached $53,909.52 this year with the largest amount of donations received being $54,848.34 in 2014. Bates said the collections at drive-thru are typically pretty telling of what kind of attendance they had.
“This year we’ve had good weather, which we haven’t had every year, but we did this year,” Bates said.
A rundown of expenses for the Festival of Lights is listed below:
• Advertising — $3,679.95, which includes outreach in Oklahoma City and locally
• Labor — $4,260.76, which is reimbursement to Parks and Recreation for the cost of paying personnel overtime to help during the drive-thru
• Candy — $2,004.88, which hit an “all-time high,” costing about 33 percent more than what they typically spend, Bates said. “I understand they were very generous with the candy,” she added.
• Displays and maintenance — $47,428.34, which is the management fee
Last, but not least, is one of the things Bates said she is most proud of every year.
“We dispersed $10,592.07 to the nonprofit groups that volunteered and worked. So that was 17 groups that worked either one or two nights. So I think that’s pretty incredible that we take part of that money and put it back into the community for good use,” Bates said.
“So overall it was a great year.”
Moving forward, Bates said they have discussed raising the cost of sponsoring of the displays since they have not been raised since the inception of the drive-thru. With new vendors, the cost is at least 25 to 33 percent more than what they were paying in years passed, she said.
The cost to sponsor a display would be based on size and incremental to the size of the display, she said. A committee will be formed to help determine the new sponsorship costs.