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02-15-03: Grand Fall Festival canceled due to cuts
The Daily Standard
    Grand Lake St. Marys State Park is canceling its annual Grand Fall Festival due to statewide budget cuts, park manager Craig Morton said Friday.
    The popular September event has been held for the last five to six years at the campground in Auglaize County to help boost campground attendance, but the event has been costly, Morton said.
    Morton said the event may return in the future  if the park's budget permits.
    "The decision was made last week after speaking with our division chief, members of the community, the Lake Development Corporation and the local convention and visitor's bureau," he said. "It was to the point that we felt it was something we really needed to do."
    Morton said he has contacted festival vendors about the canceled event.
    Vendor registration fees usually came close to covering the cost of entertainment and some maintenance expenses but not employee overtime costs, Morton said. In the past year the park has lost a full-time maintenance repair worker and an account clerk due to budget cuts. The park also was recently informed that it will lose a seasonal park officer position.
    Morton said he is reluctant to schedule major events unless he has the staff and budget available to conduct them properly.
    The park still has many events scheduled for this season including the Spring Fling on  May 9-11, Campers Garage Sale on May 16-18, Christmas in July on July 19-20 and the Halloween Campout in October. Numerous fishing tournaments and boating events take place in the park each year along with special school programs and park naturalist programs.
    Morton also announced Friday the park already has received donated funds to purchase one or two portable breath testing kits that park officers can use to investigate incidents that occur on state land or on the lake where they think alcohol may be involved. Morton first announced that the park wanted the breath testing kits last week. He thanks the community for its quick response.


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