PLATTSBURGH — Despite funding cuts, a wave of concerts, fireworks and other activities are being planned for Mayor's Cup Festival 2007.Mayor Donald Kasprzak said Friday that the city will organize two days of events that will ensure the Mayor's Cup stays alive."A lot of people were concerned that we wouldn't have anything, but I felt it was important to at least have something," Kasprzak said.Funding for the Mayor's Cup was cut by the Common Council as it trimmed about $1 million from the 2007 city budget in an effort to reduce a proposed tax-levy increase from 35 percent to 14.35 percent.The Mayor's Cup had grown into as long as a nine-day festival in recent years, featuring entertainment from across the country.It was billed at one point as the largest free festival on the East Coast.But costs for overtime and organization proved to be too much for the city budget, making the event vulnerable.This year's Mayor's Cup will be paid for by corporate and private sponsors."We hope to raise between $30,000 and $40,000," the mayor said."Then we will set up a fund for future years and hope to build on that."The city will help save money by reducing overtime."I've talked with department heads, and they will stagger shifts to reduce overtime," Kasprzak said.
The two-day event will feature fireworks on the evening of Friday, July 6. Instead of having the fireworks downtown this year, they will be held at the City Beach."I felt that we needed to market and promote the Crete Center and the beach area, and this would be a good way to do it," Kasprzak said."I envision lots of families heading down there with lawn chairs and watching the fireworks on the beach, and it will be a great view."Past Mayor's Cup events have all been free, but visitors to the Crete for the fireworks will be charged $5 for parking this year."We have plenty of parking there, and it will be easy access," Kasprzak said.There will also be food and beverage vendors at the beach for the fireworks."Hopefully, we can make a little money for the city too," the mayor said.