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CreekFest won't float for 2012

August 10, 2011 - Ortonville- Unless someone steps up to offer funding, it appears there will be no CreekFest next year.

"Because of all the big projects we are doing in the area in 2012, the Downtown Development Authority will not be sponsoring CreekFest," said DDA Executive Director Molly Lalone. "We are taking a year off and will sponsor it again in 2013. CreekFest is definitely important to us."

The annual one-day event has taken place in the village every June for the past eight years, celebrating waterways in the village and Brandon Township, particularly Kearsley Creek. Lois Robbins, a township resident and member of the North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy, founded the event in 2003.

"I became aware that we had a trout stream in our backyard and didn't think many residents were aware of that," she said. "Being interested in the natural world, I was aware of what a wonderful treasure that is and thought a special day to celebrate it would bring awareness."

The DDA took over sponsorship of CreekFest around 2005, and the event this year featured Cranbrook bat shows, reptile shows, a yacht race, minnow race, fly-fishing demonstration, arts and crafts fair, educational displays, pet parade, bounce house, kids' crafts and more. CreekFest was named "Most Outstanding Special Event" by Main Street Oakland County this year.

Because of projects like sidewalk repairs and a plan to put electricity in Crossman Park, Lalone said the DDA lacked the $3,500 in funds needed to sponsor the event next year.

"Like everyone else, our budget has been hit by the down economy as well," she said.

The DDA, which receives tax-incremented funding, has a budget of approximately $93,000, which supports Christmas in the Village, the 12-week-long Beets, Beats, and Eats (held Fridays during the summer at Crossman Park), facade and sign grants for business owners, a scarecrow contest, co-op advertising campaigns for downtown businesses and operation of a website.

Robbins was disappointed over the 2012 cancellation of CreekFest and expressed doubt that it would be brought back.

"I am kind of sorry that it didn't seem there were a lot of creative ideas brought forth about what to do about the problem," she said. "I hate to see it ending, even just for one year. I think if you let it go one year, it becomes easy to let it go the next year."

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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