Donations keep summer festivals alive - FOX 32 News Chicago

Donations keep summer festivals alive

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Chicago is known for many things including deep dish pizza, Magnificent Mile and festivals.

There are plenty of them and summertime in the city is filled with something for everyone. A donation is suggested, but not required, at most street festivals. But here’s why you may want to consider contributing.

“I don't think they do know, that's why I'm trying to be very clear about that. This is a not for profit situation, I'm a volunteer so they're just trying to drum up the funds to put this together again in 365 days,” said Eric Williams.

Williams is just one of many volunteers who make the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival run smoothly. Many forked up the $5 donation requested at the door.

“I always do. I always like to give some money back into the community because I think since this is a place I live and it's the City of Chicago that I grew up in, I just like to see it flourish,” said Laurie Seiwert.

While plenty of people may feel the same way, there were some who did not donate.

“I live here so I can't keep donating. When I went to the rib fest a couple of weeks ago, I did donate. I didn't know that you didn't have to but I was glad I did,” said Kayla Bible.

And so are organizers.

“The door donation, the revenue we generate from that is probably 30-35 percent of the entire gross revenue for the festival so it's a huge part of what we do,” said Geary Yonker.

Yonker is President of I am Logan Square and he explained just how much work and money goes into making your local street festival happen each year.

“It costs six figures to put on a festival like this. Every barricade you see, every foot of fencing you see, every Port a John, every garbage can, every security guard, you know, that all adds up and it adds up really quickly,” said Yonker.

Festivals across the city have seen declining door donations in the last three years. Once upon a time up to 70% of attendees gave door donations, now it’s about 30% percent if organizers are lucky.

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