DYER | Opinions are mixed about whether the Dyer Hometown Celebration will be held next year.
The future of Dyer’s annual fall festival has been up in the air since Town Council President Debbie Astor suggested last month it be combined with another event.
Astor had suggested it be combined with the corn roast, which is a Dyer Chamber of Commerce event, but Town Administrator Rick Eberly said the future of the corn roast itself may be in doubt.
The corn roast has always been held as a chamber quality of life event, rather than a money maker. Although the roast has been popular since its revival five years ago, the cost of running it may prove too prohibitive in the future, Eberly said.
Council members have talked for months about whether Dyer can continue to support festivals. The board recently agreed that Summerfest is an event worth keeping, particularly because the 2012 Summerfest ended up $11,000 in the black.
Summerfest is run by a committee which raises donations apart from the town.
Hometown Celebration has been profitable every year, Eberly said, but as council member Jeff Dekker pointed out, it also costs the town money.
“I don’t disagree that it’s a nice event,” Dekker said, but Dyer public works employees and police officers are paid for their work at the festival by public dollars.
Hometown itself started as a way to celebrate the opening of Calumet Avenue, Astor pointed out. It has been brought back every year since, and although a good event, “attendance seemed light” this year, she said.
Councilwoman Connee Trepton countered that attendance at either Summerfest or Hometown always depends on the weather.
Also during the study session, council members discussed ways the corn roast might be kept alive, given its popularity.
Astor and others suggested it be incorporated into National Night Out, which is held the same month.
The biggest drawback to combining the two is the fact that National Night Out is free, said Police Chief David Hein.
The chamber’s 2012 corn roast charged $7 for adults, $4 for children. On the other hand, the cost of mounting the corn roast could be defrayed by fund raising through DARE if it were combined with National Night Out, said Councilman Joe Cinko.