Main Street Canal Winchester hopes the very successful year the organization had in 2010 will continue into 2011.

Main Street Canal Winchester hopes the very successful year the organization had in 2010 will continue into 2011.

Main Street Canal Winchester representatives recently met with members of Canal Winchester Village Council to report on the group's accomplishments.

"We had an exceptional year any way you look at it," Main Street Canal Winchester executive director Bruce Jarvis said.

Going forward, he said Main Street Canal Winchester will focus on looking for ways to cut costs for 2011.

"We are going to try to build in some efficiency in the way that we are doing things," he said. "We are trying to be cost-conscious this year with where things are in the economy."

Membership will also be a focus for 2011, Jarvis said, as Main Street representatives plan to spend more time with local businesses and try to increase support for the organization.

He told council he was very pleased with last year's Main Street programs, led by the first Canal Winchester Blues and Ribfest, which proved to be very popular. More than 20,000 people attended, many of whom were visiting Canal Winchester for the first time, he said. Organizers raised $26,000 in vendor fees and sponsors and earned $4,000 at a time when it's rare to break even on a first-year event.

In addition, Main Street Canal Winchester was able to pay the village an impact fee from a vendor sales tax and created a promotional video, which can be viewed at www.bluesandribfest.com.

"We weren't sure what to expect," Jarvis said of the Blues and Ribfest. "We were trying to follow in the footsteps of some of the things we have done for Labor Day. There were some things that were completely new and we had to start from scratch."

The work over a seven-month period was pretty intensive and Main Street didn't start the event with any seed money, Jarvis said. But all the hard work paid off, he said: The Ribfest received a lot of press and helped draw a lot of new people to Canal Winchester, he said.

Work has already started on next year's event, Jarvis said. The village has agreed to allow organizers to expand into a much larger area at the intersection of High and Waterloo streets. Children's activities will be expanded and run throughout the event, Jarvis said.

"We were very limited on funds," he said of the 2010 jazz and ribfest. "We did what we could. We will be adding more ribbers and more food vendors. We are hoping we can keep food flying and the lines from becoming really excessive."

Main Street Canal Winchester was able to secure $37,400 in grants last year and started a fall farmers market, he said.

Jarvis said some of the grant money "was from the Ohio Department of Agriculture and some from a program run by the Franklin County Arts Council."

The organization also received $1,500 from the Department of Agriculture and $2,000 from the Franklin County Neighborhood Arts Council to support the Blues and Ribfest.

Main Street also made some changes to its farmers market, expanding the season and consolidating the vendors downtown in the Stradley Place area.

"It was a great event," Jarvis said. "We ran it a little differently and broke it into a fall and summer edition. I'm not sure that we will do that again in 2011."

Dividing the farmers market seemed to decrease the number of vendors and customers by fall, he said, noting it is a challenge to accommodate farmers with early spring harvests and those with fall items.

"Trying to keep everyone happy without having a market that never ends is the trick," he said. "We will be looking at that and maybe need to start a little later maybe end just a little earlier."

In September, Main Street Canal Winchester purchased a 1937 GMC truck to serve as a rolling billboard for events like Christmas in the Village, the Fall Harvest Market and the Ribfest.

"That was the result of an idea that was brought up before Main Street probably eight years ago," Jarvis said. "For various reasons, it was never possible to do it. This year seemed to be the right time to make that kind of an acquisition. We are thrilled to have it."

Jarvis said he is also thankful for the volunteer support the organization received, without which Main Street Canal Winchester would not be able to function. He also credited the village, Canal Winchester Village Council and the Main Street Canal Winchester board for their part in 2010 successes.

"My board is a great group of people," he said. "They are extremely helpful. I tip my hat to the mayor and village council. While it looks like we accomplished a lot of things, it was not done as an island.

"This time of year is a good time to stop and think about your plans for next year but also look back and take stock on what you did accomplish," he said.