Rebecca Chase Williams
Rebecca Chase Williams

Former Brookhaven mayor Rebecca Chase Williams and founder of the city’s Cherry Blossom Festival updated the council May 10 on the fest’s second annual event.

She said it was estimated 20,000 people visited Blackburn Park over the two days of the festival. According to state numbers, the fest also had a $500,000 economic impact on the city, she said.

“This is a good, compelling reason … to continue doing festivals,” she said.

Expenses for the festival totaled $93,000 while the city had raised more than $106,000 to cover costs, meaning the city did not lose any money.

Williams said she understands the city may no longer want to “be in the festival business” and she is currently exploring nonprofit opportunities. She said she still hopes the city and festival can have a cooperative relationship, including an agreement to allow Blackburn Park to be used.

Council members discussed the possibility of implementing a policy to guide the city when it comes to supporting festivals.