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$25,000 budget gap puts Edgewater NeighborFest in jeopardy

Nonprofit seeking help to put on popular street festival
01-24-23 EDGEWATER NEIGHBORFEST BUDGET.jpeg
Posted at 10:30 PM, Jan 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-24 23:18:46-05

CLEVELAND — After more than 30 years on Cleveland’s West Side, a popular summertime event is in jeopardy. The Edgewater NeighborFest is facing a $25,000 budget gap and turning to the community for help.

The annual street festival shuts down several blocks of Clifton Boulevard, between West 115th and West 117th streets, and features live music, vendors, food and a resource fair.

“I think it’s really awesome to just see all of those people in one space, celebrating and having a great time,” said Cody Cammarn, general manager for JCK Ventures, which owns Twist Social Club and Landmark.

The bar and restaurant are primely positioned for the annual event, which attracts new and returning customers for the business.

“Pretty much everybody congregates right in front of Landmark, right in front of Twist where the main stage is,” Cammarn said.

He also explained the event aligns with the company’s values. Twist Social Club has been a welcoming space for the LGBTQ+ community for more than 2 decades. Likewise, Edgewater NeighborFest prides itself on welcoming and highlighting the neighborhood’s diversity.

“It’s always been important to us to be kind of a place where people have a home, a place where they’re comfortable,” said Cammarn. “I think the street festival is a really great opportunity to showcase that, beyond just the LGBTQ community.”

The future of Edgewater NeighborFest is uncertain in 2023.

“It would be heartbreaking to not have the festival this year,” said Josh Jones Forbes, the marketing director for Northwest Neighborhoods CDC.

The organizing nonprofit is facing a $25,000 deficit, despite securing funding from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and discretionary funds from Ward 15 Cleveland City Councilmember Jenny Spencer.

“We’ve run the event in the past with a lot of one-time funds, grants, donations, but the event has run at a deficit. And it’s becoming difficult to raise those funds,” Jones Forbes explained.

He told News 5 he’s optimistic the organization will be able to scrape together the money with community support.

“The partnerships are happening, but it costs a lot of money to close down a big street and we just need help closing that gap,” he said.

Some community partners, like Twist Social Club, are lending help. The bar is planning a fundraising event for March 2 from 8 to 11 p.m.

“I want people to come out with their family, their friends and just have a really, really great time, feel a sense of community, a sense of neighborhood,” Cammarn said. “I think that is the whole intent, is to kind of create a space where everybody can celebrate together.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Edgewater NeighborFest, becoming a sponsor, attending a fundraising event or volunteering, click on this link.

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