Delray Beach will be missing another festival this year.
According to Festival Management Group, Inc. executive director Nancy Stuart-Franczak, the fifth-annual Delray Beach Wine & Seafood Fest, a Chamber of Commerce fundraiser, has been postponed.
The cancellation of this year's event is due to the City Commission's desire to amend the Delray Beach's special events policy, what amounts to several changes that have made it difficult for FMG — the full-service event management company responsible for planning and producing several of the city's festivals each year, including the Delray Beach Wine & Seafood Fest — to complete the necessary planning needed to relocate the event by its November 2016 date, says Stuart-Franczak.
"Because we had to move and redesign the event in order to eliminate the street closures in accordance with what the city commission would like to see, we were really delayed past the point of feeling comfortable to move forward this year," said Stuart-Franczak. "With less than four months, we decided the best route would be to postpone."
FMG founders Stewart-Franczak and senior financial officer Bern Ryan are contracted by the city's commission to organize and promote several annual festivals, including the Delray Beach Wine & Seafood Fest. They are also responsible for organizing the Delray Affair as well as creating Garlic Fest and — their most recent addition — the Delray Beach Bacon & Bourbon Fest.
Earlier this month, the Chamber of Commerce issued a provisional approval for a smaller, more upscale version of the Wine & Seafood Fest to be hosted November 12 through 13 at Old School Square Park, a change in location from years past when it was held on a closed-off portion of East Atlantic Avenue. Moving forward, the event will not require any road closures, said Stuart-Franczak, something city commissioners want to see happen for each festival held within the city's downtown.
The news of the postponement isn't surprising in the wake of FMG's recent decision to relocate their most popular event, the 18th-annual South Florida Garlic Fest, from its home in Delray Beach to Lake Worth's John Prince Park in February.
Last year, the City Commission put forth recommendations to update Delray Beach's special events policy but has taken no formal votes to change many of the rules under critique. Among the rules they've targeted for change include limiting the number of festivals that can be held each month and reducing street closures.
"There's not much more to say at this time," said Stuart-Franczak. "This isn't a cancellation altogether or anything like that — just a few changes we didn't have time to make before November."
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.