Pickerington's popular free summer concert series in Sycamore Park will forge ahead this year without the support of its sole sponsor, Giant Eagle grocery stores, which has bowed out after six years of providing the funds to support the event.
"Giant Eagle is officially out. They did not give me a reason why," said Rebecca Medinger, Pickerington Parks and Recreation director.
Medinger expressed concern at City Council's Safety Committee meeting March 20 the event could be without a sponsor after the Pittsburgh-based supermarket chain failed to respond to her inquiries about signing up for another year.
"We've pushed them (but) the representative that was getting back with me is no longer there," Medinger said.
In a statement issued to the ThisWeek Pickerington Times-Sun late Monday afternoon, April 1, Giant Eagle spokesman Dan Donovan said:
"Giant Eagle actively supports numerous community organizations throughout central Ohio and the Pickerington area specifically.
"In addition to our ongoing support of local schools through initiatives such as our Apples for the Students program and regional food banks such as Seton Parish food pantry, we have also made contributions to important area charities such as Tyler's Light.
"To ensure that we impact a variety of organizations in need, we periodically adjust and refresh how we support our local communities."
Medinger told the Safety Committee the Parks and Recreation Department, which has produced the event for the last 12 years, would be pursuing other corporate sponsors, including Pepsi.
Medinger said March 29, however, that Pepsi is out of the running as well.
"They are unable to sponsor this year," she said.
With the concert season fast approaching, (the first one is scheduled for June 9), Medinger said one of Pickerington's enduring signature events still remains without a sponsor.
"We don't have a sponsor secured for this year yet, but we are looking at options," she said.
Giant Eagle spent $18,000 last year to sponsor the Summer Concert Series.
Medinger said the same amount is sought this year, however, one option is to solicit that funding from various sources.
"I think we might try to seek out a couple (sponsors) rather than going for the whole bulk amount," she said.
Despite the lack of sponsorship, Medinger said the series will not be in jeopardy, at least for this summer.
"The Summer Concert Series will run as scheduled," she said. "It's still set in stone."
Medinger said the money will come out of the Parks and Recreation fund, although the city is still entertaining any sponsorship offers.
"At this point we'll probably talk to anyone that's interested," she said.
The Summer Concert Series will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m, Sunday nights, June 9 through Aug. 18 at Sycamore Park.
For more information call the Pickerington Parks and Recreation Department at 614-833-2211.