Summer always brings plenty of fun activities to the Tri-Village area, but Digfest will no longer be among them.
After a run of eight years, the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership board decided late last year that the event will not be held in 2019 and beyond, said chamber executive director Stephanie Evans.
"It wasn't an easy decision," Evans said. "Digfest was intended to be a fundraiser for the chamber, but the bottom line was the amount of money it was making wasn't worth the time, effort and expense involved in putting it on."
Digfest was a celebration of craft beer and liquor, with more than 20 beverage-makers offering samples of their products. (The "dig" in "Digfest" stood for "drinks in Grandview.") The event also included food, music and crafts.
The chamber netted less than half of the proceeds last year as it had from previous years, Evans said -- "and there was really no rhyme or reason why that was," she added.
"The revenue was as unpredictable as the weather, and we had good weather last year.
"Digfest is a big event and we only have one-and-a-half staff members at the chamber," she said. "Some of our volunteers who helped put on Digfest put in 100 hours. It was a huge undertaking with no guarantee of return."
Most of the revenue the chamber earned from the festival came from alcohol sales, Evans said.
Grandview's police and fire departments estimated about 6,500 people attended Digfest in 2018, but not all of those people were buying alcohol, Evans said.
"Some of them were drinking water, or were the designated driver for their group, or just came to have some food and soak up the atmosphere," she said.
While food-truck vendors paid a fee to set up at Digfest. the chamber received none of the money from their food sales, Evans said.
Digfest was held on the third Saturday of June in First Avenue Park at Grandview Yard.
"There are so many events and festivals that are being held now, it's hard to stand out among the crowd," Evans said. "We were one of the early trailblazers when we started Digfest eight years ago, but now there are so many festivals, you have multiple events going on most weekends. Gahanna's Creekside (Blues & Jazz) Festival is held the same weekend as Digfest."
The Columbus Pride Festival also is held at the same time as Digfest, and while that was advantageous in previous years, that changed after Pride extended its activities into the evening, Evans said.
"We used to have people who would come from Pride to our event, but that number probably decreased last year," she said.
The chamber will not look to establish another major fundraising event, Evans said.
"Our mission is to support our members' businesses and foster a positive environment for the business community in Grandview, Upper Arlington and Marble Cliff," she said. "This year, we're going to focus our effort on that mission."