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Council to vote on UFO Festival management

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City will consider awarding festival’s management to Texas company

During its November meeting, the Roswell City Council will consider awarding management of the 2021 UFO Festival to a professional event production company from Texas.

MainStreet Roswell had organized the festival since 2014, but MainStreet advised the city it wanted to step out of that role to focus on its mission of promoting downtown, according to an August press release from the city and MainStreet.

The city has proposed using the $40,000 it had been providing to MainStreet previously for organizing the event, to hire a professional event company to manage the festival for a one-year contract.

The city received two responses for its request for proposals to manage the festival, with staff recommending awarding the RFP to In Depth Events, McKinney, Texas.

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The other proposal was from The Liberty, a Roswell private social club.

Stephanie Mervine, tourism manager for the city, said both interviewed well, showing passion and enthusiasm for the UFO Festival, but In Depth showed superior event management skills and well-defined leadership.

“In Depth spoke specifically to what we were asking for in the scope of work and the deliverables. Their focus was on what the city needs and not what the company needs. They really listened well to that,” she said at the Oct. 22 Finance Committee meeting.

Committee members voted unanimously to send the recommendation for In Depth’s management of the festival to the full City Council’s Nov. 12 consent agenda. Consent agenda items, which can include RFPs, leases, resolutions and meeting minutes, are all approved in one action unless an individual item is requested and approved to be moved to the regular agenda during the meeting.

The scope of work outline in the RFP includes creating “an elevated design that brings a refreshed experience to attract a broader national audience.”

The management company would oversee much of the work of putting on the festival including logistics; managing all aspects of entertainment, event production and contract negotiations; training and supervising volunteers; managing all communications; and preparing a budget outline and cost proposal.

The goals for the festival outlined in the RFP include increasing overnight hotel stays and length of stays; developing ticketed events; and expanding the festival’s audience to a broader national level.

As for MainStreet Roswell, Executive Director Kathy Lay said the organization still plans to be involved.

“MainStreet Roswell plans to coordinate our efforts with those chosen by the City Council to organize the official UFO Festival. As the city works toward growing and expanding this into a city-wide event, we will focus our time and energy on downtown festival activities that will encourage attendees to visit the businesses located in the MainStreet Roswell’s district, not to compete with the city-wide event, but to enhance and complement it by having more things for people to do over the festival weekend,” Lay said.

That could include MainStreet’s passport program, in which participants acquire stamps at participating businesses in a booklet that can then be entered into a prize drawing.

Downtown events would also likely include craft and merchandise tents, local musicians, a prize drawing and the pet costume contest, she said.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

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