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City moves forward with Independence Day plans

O’Fallon was not able to conduct the Heritage & Freedom Fest scheduled for July 2-4, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The rescheduled event, dubbed Heritage & Freedom Fest 2.0 and planned for Sept. 6, 2020, also had to be canceled. But with a vaccine rolling out, there’s hope that the annual Independence Day celebration will be able to resume in 2021.

Looking forward, the city has started plans for the event this year and subsequent years. In an attempt to get back to whatever turns out to be normal, the 2021 event is scheduled for July 3 and 4.

At its Jan. 14 meeting, the City Council approved Resolution No. 01-14-2021 by a vote of 10-0, authorizing a three-year agreement with Blank Slate, LLC, for the production of entertainment for the Heritage & Freedom Fest’s main stage. The contract is not to exceed a total of $999,000. That total includes $330,000 per year for 2021, 2022 and 2023. It has two optional one-year renewals beginning in 2024.

The agreement is included in the city’s 2021 budget. Each year, the Heritage and Freedom Fest’s impact on the General Fund is $120,000. Its impact on the Transient Guest Tax Fund is $210,000. The General Fund supports commissions, general staffing and staging. The Transient Guest Tax Fund supports main stage headliners, support bands, deposits for the following year, technical support and insurance rider requirements.

The agreement includes cancellation provisions for several scenarios and reasons, including the need to cancel “for public health and safety reasons.” So, the city has financial pandemic protection for its Heritage & Freedom Fest plans.

Blank Slate, LLC did not submit the lowest of seven bids received, but city staff recommended them because other bids seemed unrealistically low, or were from providers of lower-quality talent. Blank Slate was deemed the most thorough and professional.

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