Elgin's Fox Trot is a go for May 31 as city reallocates events funds
The city of Elgin is cutting five events -- one more than previously disclosed -- from the budget this year, but is giving $5,000 sponsorships to two local groups that want to keep alive the Elgin Valley Fox Trot race and the Art & Soul on the Fox festival.
The goal of the "reduce and refocus" special events plan -- which reallocates savings to initiatives including improvements at Festival Park -- is to determine the "passions and expectations" of the community to come up with an "innovative and collaborative" lineup of events for 2021, Elgin Special Events Coordinator Kate O'Leary told the city council Wednesday.
With the city's sponsorship, the Elgin Valley Fox Trot is set to take place May 31, said Tim Williams, spokesman for the local running club Kenyon Farm Runners that partnered with the Elgin Lions Club and F3 Events to hold the race, now in its 43rd consecutive year.
The group Art for All will look for a way to make the Art & Soul on the Fox happen in a smaller scale at a date and place to be determined.
The three events that for sure won't take place this year are: International Festival (iFest), the Elgin Civil War Experience and Hay Day. The elimination of Hay Day had not been previously discussed publicly and was announced Wednesday.
The council gave the green light to reallocating $144,000 in special events savings: $10,000 for the two sponsorships; $30,000 for a marketing firm to research event trends and do focus groups and surveys to get feedback about what people want next year; $22,000 to the Elgin Public Museum; and $82,000 for improvements at Festival Park, such as permanent or semipermanent fencing, a concrete pad for staging, and additional lighting.
In the last three years, iFest has yielded the largest average yearly loss at $29,300 per year, according to figures presented by O'Leary. The Fox Trot has been the most expensive event to produce at about $66,000 per year, yielding an average loss of $28,711 after revenues. The Civil War event had an average $22,000 loss, Art & Soul an average $16,605 loss, and Hay Day an average $10,350 loss.
The Fourth of July event had the third-highest average loss at $25,425, but there's been no mention of cutting that from the budget.
The city's largest event is Nightmare on Chicago Street, which last year was attended by about 14,500 people and yielded a $11,000 loss. It will mark its 10th anniversary in the fall with the appearance of Svengoolie and a "Nightmare Graveyard" with props from previous years such as Steampunk and Cirque de Freak, O'Leary said.
Meanwhile, registration opens Thursday for the Fox Trot that feature will feature a 10-mile race and 5K race with a new course that will include a portion along the Fox River Trail, Williams said. A portion of proceeds will benefit local nonprofits with fundraising to be spearheaded by the Elgin Lions Club, he said.
"Our goal is to make the Elgin Valley Fox Trot the premier 10-mile race in the Chicago area," said race director Zach Edmonson of F3 Events. "We plan to amp up the fun factor with a great postrace party, finisher medals and maybe even prize money for masters' athletes."
To register visit register.chronotrack.com/r/57105. The fee is $45 for the 10-mile and $31 for the 5K; fees will increase March 1.
For more information about the race or volunteer and sponsorship opportunities contact Tim Williams at KFRathletes@gmail.com or Zach Edmonson at email@example.com.