DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) A local festival in De Pere wants to return to its roots in 2020. After a brief move to the Brown County Fairgrounds, it appears Celebrate De Pere is headed back to Voyageur Park.
When Celebrate De Pere marks its 30th anniversary this coming May, De Pere’s parks director says it will likely do so back on familiar ground.
“We were sad to see it go, so we’re pretty happy to see it come back,” said Marty Kosobucki.
Last month the festival’s co-president went before the De Pere Parks Board and said after one attempt at operating on the Brown County Fairgrounds in 2019, it would be best to return to Voyageur Park in 2020.
“We were hoping to infuse some excitement by having it be a new venue,” said Bob Tease. “Voyageur Park in De Pere is a great venue, always has been, always will be.”
Tease says the driving force behind the move is the 30th anniversary of the festival and returning to Voyageur Park is returning to the events roots. But he acknowledged issues with an eagle’s nest caused some frustration with this fairground site last year.
“Unfortunately there is a big eagle in that park,” said Tease.
A nesting eagle which at the time required federal and state protection.
“There was a 300 to 600-foot buffer that really put a damper on what they can and can not do,” said Kosobucki.
“Two weeks before the event every bit of the footprint of the park was changed,” Tease said.
Tease says moving back to Voyageur Park eliminates many risks, helps the festival better control costs and in turn, hopefully generates more revenue.
“The event and its longevity is at risk,” Tease said.
A chance to get back on firm footing at the place where it all began.
Tease says revenue was down last year – but gave no specifics. The park’s board voted to let Celebrate De Pere host this year’s event at Voyageur Park. A request for additional support from the city is being studied.