Despite slower sales, organizers say it was an “overall success”

Morgan Hill Life file photo

By Staff Report

Despite inclement weather Memorial Day weekend, this year’s Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras was an overall success, with a record-breaking crowd Saturday May 25. Attendance was lighter Sunday May 26, which saw intermittent showers throughout the day.

“Overall, our 40th anniversary was a success and enjoyed by everyone, despite the rain,” said Sunday Minnich, festival executive director. “We have been very lucky and blessed.”

In the 15 years she has planned the Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras Festival, this is the first year it saw substantial rain, which caused some vendors to leave Saturday night, and the cancellation of the last two bands who were unable to perform on the Fourth Street Stage. The community stage at the Downtown Amphitheater was also affected with some of the local studios unable to perform.

“We want to thank this year’s sponsors for supporting us,” Minnich said. “Their contributions this year definitely helped our bottom line.”

Because of the success of Saturday’s record-breaking attendance and increase in on-site sales, the event’s shortfall Sunday wasn’t as bad as it could have been, she said.

“We were quite surprised at the crowd Sunday who came out to brave the rain and the vendors still seemed happy with their sales,” she said.

As a free festival, the Mushroom Mardi Gras relies heavily on on-site sales, vendor fees and sponsorships. The festival is still calculating this year’s financials and estimates about a $25,000 to $30,000 shortfall. It did make enough to cover all its obligations and will make a net profit, though not as high as past years.

The 2020 scholarships will be based on this year’s success and net income, so the board of directors will have to make the decision on how much this might impact scholarships and mini grants in 2020.

This year the festival awarded $60,000 in scholarships from last year’s revenues to students. The festival typically contributes $80,000 to $90,000 back to the community in the form of scholarships, grants and stipends to clubs, programs and nonprofits.

“Generally speaking, I think the crowds were upbeat and despite the weather, all present had a wonderful time,” said Bob Benevento, president of the MMG board. “It’s important for the community to know the future rests in the hands of our students and the cost of higher education is a tremendous burden on our young people and their families. Even if we alleviate just a small part of that burden, we’re helping improve the future of our students and community and I hope the Morgan Hill community could support that endeavor.”

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