Sponsorship donations were the primary focus of the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla committee during its Monday, Feb. 24, meeting with no major sponsors tapped for the grand prize.
Flotilla Chairman Pres Davenport said Hutchens Law Firm has been integral in sponsoring the event for the past few years, but that the committee is not expecting the same level of commitment from the law firm this year. In 2013, Hutchens donated a 17-foot Carolina Skiff for the grand prize, which brought the grand prize total to $4,000 more than what was expected.
With uncertainty about whether it should budget for another grand prize award donation of $5,000, which was the case in 2013, the committee decided to reduce the expected cash sponsorships from $17,000 to $12,000.
Finding a major sponsor for the parade grand prize would be important in drawing another 30 boat entries in 2014, Davenport said.
“I think we should try to stay around 30 boats, but it is all contingent upon the sponsorship grand prize total,” Davenport said. “That should be everybody’s guiding thought for the next two or three months. It is the best thing, from our standpoint, that we have to sell and that is where businesses are going to get the biggest bang.”
Another proposed budgetary change from the 2013 event is a $2,000 increase in expenses for the Saturday night fireworks show.
Committee member Mike Russ said Zambelli Fireworks, which has produced the fireworks show for several years, increased its price this year and provided options for a $12,000, $14,000 and $16,000 show. Russ said he was told the flotilla’s fireworks show has been on par with the new $16,000 package but representatives from Zambelli said patrons would not notice a switch to the $14,000 package.
With committee member Jenny Yarborough leaving her position at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, Yarborough said Blockade Runner sales director Whitney Spratt would most likely be the resort’s new representative on the committee during its next meeting in March.