The storms April 24 swept across Tarrant County and drowned hopes for a two-day festival, but losing Arbor Daze was a disappointment, not a disaster, city officials say.
“We’re fine,” said Betsy Deck, city spokeswoman. “It’s sad, but it’ll be fine.”
Next door to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, where gauges recorded 1.03 inches of rain that Friday, on what was supposed to be the first day of the festival, Euless leaders knew opening day was a washout. But in the storm’s wake, as Ray McDonald, director of the city’s parks and community services, waded through ankle-deep puddles among the tents on the municipal lawn, he realized the sod would remain waterlogged overnight. Soon after hearing this, City Manager Loretta Getchell decided to cancel the Saturday schedule, too.
The silver that lined the clouds is that Euless won’t take anywhere near the economic hit it suffered in 2004, when a two-day rainout cost the city about $250,000. The festival was much grander back then.
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Arbor Daze lost half a day to weather in 2005. City leaders canceled the 2006 festival. A scaled-down Arbor Daze was introduced in 2007.
The budget set for Arbor Daze 2015 was $65,000, Deck said.
“We won’t spend all of it,” Deck said. “It will depend on how many service providers don’t charge or reduce the contract amount.”
McDonald said the carnival provider, for instance, agreed to roll over the fee to next year’s festival.
“Others are negotiating how much, if any, can be rolled into later events that we do throughout the year,” McDonald said. “The contract says ‘rain or shine.’ We haven’t had a chance to talk to all of them.”
Refunding fees to vendors will cost about $10,000, McDonald said.
“About $8,000 in booth rentals were for businesses and arts and crafts,” McDonald said. “Concessionaires are probably another two grand.”
The heaviest hit, McDonald said, was lost opportunity.
“I was looking forward to seeing the citizens of Euless,” he said. “That’s the best part of Arbor Daze, seeing your friends and neighbors. I’m very disappointed that we didn’t get to share that time.”
Ofa Faiva-Siale, the city’s project and events coordinator and a leader in the local Tongan community, shared McDonald’s disappointment. This was to be the second — and grander — year for a Tongan culture tent.
“We never even got as far as putting stuff in the tent,” Faiva-Siale said. “It’s disappointing, but what do you do other than roll with the punches? We’re thankful for the opportunity to share and look forward to doing it next year.”
The city also had something to share last weekend, and McDonald said it still intends to give away about 3,500 red oak saplings. That is scheduled for Saturday.
“We’ll give a tree to anyone who comes out,” McDonald said. “We’re thinking about the parking lot of our Aquatics Center. It’s centrally located and everyone knows where it is.”
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.
Euless will give away 3,500 red oak saplings left over from the canceled Arbor Daze festival.
Trees will be given first come, first served from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Euless Family Life Center Aquatic Park, 300 W. Midway Drive. You do not have to be a resident to get a tree.