Overbudget UFO Fest 2007 gets a trim

June 14, 2007

Vanessa Beauman
Record Staff Writer
Roswell Daily Record

UFO Festival coordinators have cut - just a bit - planned events after the city's biggest celebration ended up more expensive than anticipated.

Previously $90,000 over its budget, the UFO Festival costs - and activities - have been slashed so an additional $60,000 awarded to it at a special City Council meeting Thursday afternoon will more than cover expected expenses.

After considering festival coordinators' request for $90,000 to cover unexpected costs, City Council, impeded by organizers' Friday deadlines, voted 6-2 to approve $60,000 award from lodger's tax funds.

On Friday, the UFO Festival Committee reviewed its budget and reduced estimated costs and events so it would not need to request more city funds.

Renee Roach, the city's marketing director and co-chairperson of the UFO Festival Committee, said the review did not involve cutting major events, just "things we did not have a legal commitment to."

Planned festival components such as the "alien abductions," which involved randomly selecting visitors at the event and giving them gifts, as well as cooling tents equipped with misting fans, have been cut.

Instead of cooling tents, Roach said the festival will now have a more economical cooling building. Other items, she said, had been over-budgeted.

She said she was grateful for the support and that Friday's cuts may mean the festival might not need the entire $60,000.

"I am so grateful the City Council took the time to review this," Roach said. "I have full confidence they are looking out for the city and protecting the lodger's tax fund."

Roach said local businesses, sponsors and vendors who have recently signed on have nothing to worry about.

"The sponsors can feel confident they are supporting a wonderful event," Roach said, citing draws such as the free ten-years-gone Air Show, the BMX athletes show, and planned performances by 70's bands War and the Alan Parsons Project. "Roswell's never had anything like that."

The same goes for taxpayers, she said, as she feels that what the city contributed to the festival will be offset by collections of gross receipts tax during the festival.

In anticipation of a crowd doubling the city's population of 50,000, Roswell hotels are almost completely booked for the festival days, July 5-8.

More information on the festival is available online at www.roswellufofestival.com or b y calling 1-888-ROS-FEST.