Which Festivals Do Tax Dollars Fund and How Many People Attend?

Which Festivals Do Tax Dollars Fund and How Many People Attend?

The Community Redevelopment Agency, which is composed of City and County Commissioners, recently released their annual report for fiscal year 2015.

In the report was a list of “Promotional and Special Events” sponsored by the CRA. During the fiscal year, the CRA sponsored fourteen (14) events with approximately $65,000 in tax dollars.

Listed below is a table with the name of the event, the amount of the CRA sponsorship, the number of participants and the tax dollars spent per participant.

A more detailed description for each event is provided at the end of this report.

The table shows that the Springtime Festival, which is scheduled for this weekend, gets the most bang for the tax dollar buck with $8,000 in tax dollars sponsoring an event which draws approximately 100,000.

Next on the list is the series of seven “Downtown Getdown” events. These events get $10,000 and draw approximately 35,000 participants.

The four events at the bottom of the list get a combined amount of approximately $20,000 and draw just over 3,000 participants. In comparison, Springtime and the Downtown Getdown events receive a combined total of $18,000 and draw approximately 135,000 participants.

Two events were not included in the analysis because of incomplete data.

Click on image to enlarge.


Jazz on Gaines Street: $5,000. RB Ministries was awarded $5,000 to host three live jazz music events: October 26, 2014, March 16, 2015 and September 20, 2015. An estimated 1,000 – 1,500 people took part in each event.

War on Film Series: $5,000. The Tallahassee Film Society was awarded $5,000 to host monthly viewings of various war-themed movies throughout the fiscal year at the All Saints Cinema in the Amtrak Railroad Station. An estimated 1,214 attendees took to part in the movie showings.

My Home, My Community, My Responsibility: $5,000. Big Bend Crime Stoppers was awarded $5,000 to a host a special event designed to connect community residents with community service providers and to have a discussion about ways to overcome factors that contribute to crime. An estimated 300 attendees took part in the event.

All Saints District Festival: $4,803. All Saints District Community Association was awarded $5,000 to host a two-day event from October 31st to November 1st. The event featured festivities, live music, food, and promotional activities from local businesses. An estimated 500 to 1,000 attendees took part in the event.

Jazz @ B Sharps: $5,000. The B Sharp Jazz Society was awarded $5,000 to host a series of jazz musical events at B Sharps on West Brevard Street in the Frenchtown community between October 2014 and August 2015. Although the events were held, a post-event report was not submitted to staff.

Season of Emancipation – Walk Through Living History, Parade and Day in Park:$5,000. The John G. Riley Museum was awarded $5,000 to host the Walk Through Living History event, which is designed to develop a better understanding of the African American fight for freedom during and after the Civil War. The event was held on May 9, 2015 at the Speed Spencer Stevens Park with over 800 attendees.

Gaines Street Festival 2015: $2,275. Unity Song, Inc. was awarded $2,275 to host the Gaines Street Festival, a community festival focused on local music, businesses, and food. The event was held October 11, 2014 with approximately 4,000 attendees.

Frenchtown Heritage Festival: $2,922. The Frenchtown Neighborhood Improvement Association, Inc. was awarded a $2,922 grant to help support their weekly farmer’s market from October through November and April through September 2015. An estimated 150 persons attended each event.

Springtime Tallahassee Festival: $8,000. Springtime Tallahassee was awarded $8,000 for the 2015 Springtime Tallahassee Festival. The festival includes the Grand Parade, Jubilee in the Park, Children’s Park and entertainment stages. There were a variety items offered by the arts, crafts, and food vendors especially at the Seafood Festival at Kleman Plaza where the main stage featured rising entertainment stars. The festival was held on March 28, 2015 in downtown Tallahassee with an estimated 100,000 people in attendance.

Tallahassee New Year’s Eve Celebration: $8,000. Tallahassee New Year’s Eve, Inc. was awarded $8,000 for 2014 New Year’s Eve celebration on December 31st. The celebration included fireworks, musical entertainment by Fats Domino and other groups and a video projection of New York City’s New Year’s Eve Ball Drop. More than 7,000 people attended the celebration.

Saint Patrick’s Day Celebration: $4,000. The Tallahassee Irish Society was awarded $4,000 for the 2015 Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. The event was held on March 14, 2015 on Kleman Plaza. The entertainment included local band Krooked Kilts as well as a parade on College Ave. There were an estimated 4,000 people in attendance.

United Way of the Big Bend – Capital City Bank Downtown Getdown: $10,000. The United Way of the Big Bend was awarded $10,000 to help host the Downtown Getdown on Adams Street on the Friday night before FSU’s seven home football games. The entertainment included local musicians, kids stage and food vendors. An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people attended each event

Friends of the Museums of Florida History Inc.: $2,500. The Friends of the Museums of Florida History was awarded $2,500 for the Emancipation Day Celebration event held in Lewis Park on May 20th. The event included live music,free food and a reenactment of the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation on the steps of the Historic Knott House Museum. An estimated 2,000 people attended.

John Gilmore Riley Center: $1,500. The John Gilmore Riley Center was awarded the $1,500 grant to help host the Annual Holiday Rock – A – Thon, a celebration of African American Heritage in the Smokey Hollow community. The event was held at the John Gilmore Riley House Museum on Jefferson Street on December 6, 2014. There were an estimated 1,500 people in attendance.

4 Responses to "Which Festivals Do Tax Dollars Fund and How Many People Attend?"

    1. The police (City General Fund) resources used for these events and home football games are very significant. Financial costs in dollars drawn from Leon County’s General Fund for Emergency Medical Services are small in comparison, however they represent a larger portion of the EMS budget.

      Mr. Stewart is not one to bring attention to TPD’s bloated salaries, and risk losing the endorsement of the Florida Police Benevolent Union. As disappointing as this may be, as tax payers we should still applaud his efforts to calculate our ROI.

  1. I am confused. Is the City even supposed to be doing this?

    From the CRA website:

    The goal of the Tallahassee CRA is to create and implement strategies that use a combination of public and private resources to facilitate redevelopment that enhances the built environment and strengthens local economic conditions within each redevelopment district.

    Festivals = redevelopment? Festivals = fighting blight?

  2. It is interesting how some of the same players keep bringing us back to the issue of ETHICS….

    B Sharp’s Cafe was funded by a grant and loan in 2005:

    Geraldine Seay–$39,678.46 Grant (05-10-05)
    Geraldine Seay–$54,314.54 Loan (05-10-05)

    Free money seems to create well-worn paths to the trough.

    For background reading, check out the following Tallahassee Reports article:


    And The Historic Lafayette Park newsletter issue of August 6, 2009:


    Steve, keep up the good work, and keep focused on what our new Ethics Department is doing.

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