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Jingle Jam becomes 2nd Sanford Event to be cancelled in days, both citing issues with the city

Two key events in Sanford's events calendar have now been cancelled, with Jingle Jam following Hollerbach’s Oktoberfest. Both events claim that issues associated with the city of Sanford have forced them to cancel the cherished local events.


Jingle Jam becomes 2nd Sanford Festival to be cancelled in days, both citing issues with the city

The city of Sanford has just lost two of its major festivals within days!


Following the sad news that Hollerbach’s German Restaurant located at 205 E 1st St, Sanford, will not be hosting their usual Oktoberfest celebration this year, due to what they say are increasing costs associated with putting the event on within the city, yet another much loved city event has been cancelled, again with organizers blaming the city of Sanford for rising costs.


Hollerbach’s German Restaurant in Sanford  Oktoberfest

The second event to be cancelled is the much loved holiday tradition, the annual Jingle Jam which is usually enjoyed by families throughout the city.


Jingle Jam is organized by Sanford Main Street, a non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing downtown Sanford. In announcing the news that the 2023 Jingle Jam was cancelled, Sanford Main Street explained the decision in a press release, "After careful consideration and in consultation with key players, the decision was made due to rising costs and the mounting fatigue caused by the ever-increasing regulations."


The release continued, "the festival's sustainability has been challenged by a series of factors that have made it increasingly difficult to secure the necessary resources and meet evolving regulatory demands."


They went on to say that they are concerned that due to the event's ever-increasing demands. it's affecting the team of volunteers who tirelessly work to bring Jingle Jam to life every year, with the volunteers expressing concerns of fatigue.


Sanford Main Street commented, "As a non-profit organization, Sanford Main Street relies heavily on the generosity and commitment of these volunteers. Their well-being and satisfaction are of utmost importance to us."


Even though they have canceled Jingle Jam, the non-profit say that they are still committed to its mission of breathing new life into downtown Sanford and supporting community development initiatives.


They commented, "Sanford Main Street remains committed to fostering a vibrant and thriving downtown Sanford and appreciates everyone's understanding during this challenging transition. We are confident that together we will identify new opportunities to raise funds and create memorable experiences for the community."


Following the cancelation of the two events and the criticism it has brought the city of Sanford, the city Mayor, Art Woodruff released a statement to defend the city and himself.


"The City of Sanford regrets that promoters are not holding events that have been popular in the past. Hollerbach’s Octoberfest had a successful run and by all accounts did well at the Sanford Civic Center site the last two years. Hollerbach’s withdrew this year’s application - after the commission approved it in June. I have been told increases in both city costs and other costs for the event, including rental equipment and insurance, led to the decision. The event was scheduled for November which would allow Hollerbach’s to participate in other events throughout Central Florida in October. After some complaints about Jingle Jam in 2021, changes were made in 2022 including one less stage and more coordination with businesses. I did continue to have concerns about the number of street closures since the event extended from Sanford Avenue to Myrtle Avenue. After the 2022 event the promoter told me they were considering major changes in the event including a possible change of location. One of the considerations was whether the event was a service for the community or a fundraiser for Mainstreet. Mainstreet did not submit an event application to host Jingle Jam in 2023 so there was no review by the city. The most recent changes to our event guidelines were made in 2022 and included ending outdoor entertainment at 10 p.m. to encourage people to move inside, giving extra scrutiny to separate but adjacent events, trying to maintain north-south access between Sanford Avenue and Park Avenue since most of our parking is north of First Street, making sure multiple outdoor stages do not expose residents or other businesses who are midway between stages to competing performances, and requiring the events help manage parking. Here is some history of what the city charges for the events. The city costs are what the event promoter must pay to cover the actual costs of the city. 2019 – Ocktoberfest held in Magnolia Square with private security used for overnight City fees $8,946 including $5051 for police. 2020 – Canceled due to Covid 2021 – Ocktoberfest moved to Civic Center. City fees $10,365 including $3756 for police, $1425 for fire, and $2750 for Civic Center rental 2022 – Oktoberfest planned for Civic Center and rescheduled to November because of flooding. City fees $16,103 including $5,254 for police, $1770 for fire, and $5330 for Civic Center rental. 2023 – Novemberfest Estimate – event requested for November 3 – 5. Request was withdrawn by Hollerbach’s before the City Commission was to consider it at the June 26 meeting. Estimated City fees - $17,492 including $7505 for police, $2680 for fire, and $3947 for Civic Center rental. In each case the nonprofit rate for the Civic Center was used because the applicant was Hollerbach’s Has Heart nonprofit organization. 2021 – Jingle Jam – City fees $6377 including $4674 for police and $356 for fire. 2022 – Jingle Jam – City fees $4981 including $2451 for police. (the costs decreased from the previous year) 2023 – No application for Jingle Jam was submitted.”

Sanford Mayor Art Woodruff


It will be interesting to see if any more events are canceled in Sanford as we move forward.


Historic Downtown Sanford Florida

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