BY KELLY ROCHE
A two-year pilot project allowing Ribfest organizers to charge an entry fee at Celebration Square has been given the go-ahead by city council, despite a last-minute manoeuvre by Mayor Bonnie Crombie before the vote.
“I do have some new information for you, and this may change your mind, um, and you may want to defer this until you can get clarification but I was with Amacon (Tuesday) night and they told me that if you charge an admission fee, they will not sponsor,” Crombie told shocked Rotary Club officials at the Feb. 24 council meeting.
“They do not want to sponsor a ticketed event.”
The festival’s formal name is the Amacon Mississauga Rotary Ribfest, meaning the development giant is its title sponsor.
Rotary organizers went to City Hall for permission to charge $2 per person or $5 per family during the four-day event’s two busiest days in 2016 and 2017.
With hopes of drawing 100,000 people in total, and collecting the user fee from about 50,000 attendees, money raised will be donated to local charities.
Council then voted in favour of the motion, outnumbering Crombie, Ward. 4 Coun. John Kovac and Ward 7 Coun. Nando Iannicca.
Some councillors, and Crombie, protested shutting down the fountain in the peak of summer.
“If we don’t want to allow events that are going to bring thousands of people” to City Centre, “then let’s not let anyone use the Square,” said Saito, noting areas, such as the Ribfest children’s carnival, are exempt from the admission fee.
SPONSORS AND ADMISSION