CARY – The Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce is in the midst of planning a fall festival in the downtown.
The inaugural Cary Main Street Fest will be an outdoor festival featuring local restaurants, businesses, a marketplace of vendors and artists, live entertainment, and a children's area, according to a news release. The event is planned for Sept. 27 and 28.
Brad Ball, executive director of the chamber, said the goal of the event is to highlight the businesses and non-profits in town.
Organizers, who hope to make this an annual festival, plan to include a variety of craft beers and wines and feature locates artists. A main stage with bands and a family stage with theater, dance and other interactive children's programming is planned.
"We're really excited about the launch of this event," Ball said. "The opportunity to bring people out for a weekend of camaraderie and community celebration is a great way to make people feel good about where they live."
To help with festival, the Cary Village Board is providing $20,000 of seed money. The chamber is looking for additional sponsorships to help pay for the event, the news release said.
Ball said that it's expected to cost more than $100,000 to run the fall festival.
The chamber is working with Big Buzz Idea Group, a Chicago-based event planning firm, to help produce the event.
"Cary has a unique charm, and autumn is a special time: comfortable temperatures and the onset of fall colors at harvest," said Melissa Lagowski, a principal event planner with Big Buzz.
The event will be a fundraiser for the chamber of commerce, but there will be an effort to make donations to local non-profits, the news release said.
Money from a volunteer grant program will be given to local non-profits that help fill 200 volunteer shifts. A $5 donation at the gate is planned for the event.
Revenue from donations, sponsorships and beverage sales will help support the volunteer grant program, the news release said.
To plan this event, the chamber of commerce canceled its annual SportsFest, which took place in mid-August.
"We canceled that so that the chamber staff could focus on having a great first-year event," Ball said in an interview.
Ball added the chamber would be reaching out to many of the vendors who participated in the SportsFest.
About 25 to 35 market vendors, including general merchants, non-profits and vendors promoting their services, are expected at the fall festival. Between four and eight food vendors are expected, Ball said.