By ASHLEY HELMS
The Southern Westchester Food and Wine Festival will likely be heading to the Village of Mamaroneck in September, but some members of the Board of Trustees had some concerns about the nuts and bolts of the festival’s contract.
As long as an agreeable contract can be worked out, which village officials expect, the festival will kick-off at Harbor Island Park on Sept. 19 and 20 and will include a Saturday night concert, a barbeque competition and a jazz festival.
In September 2013, the Southern Westchester Food and Wine Festival debuted in Scarsdale for a one-day, free admission event showcasing the wine and culinary offerings across southern Westchester.
Baumer Ventures Inc., owned by husband-and-wife duo Richard and Stacey Baumer, produce the festival and they approached the Board of Trustees this month about hosting the event. Richard Baumer said there are numerous events planned for the village that encompass both local and national fare.
Mamaroneck’s festival will run through Friday and Saturday; Sunday will be hosted again in Scarsdale. Admission in both Scarsdale and Mamaroneck will be free, but some special events, like specific food and wine tasting, will have entrance tickets available for purchase.
Village Attorney Charles Goldberger is working on a contract with Baumer Ventures in order to go forward with the event. He said he thinks both parties will come to an agreement on the contract, but not without some complexities to work out.
“It’s quite a bit more complex than we thought it would be. It’s different situation than Scarsdale; Scarsdale was on the street and Scarsdale was only one day,” Goldberger said. “It’s a lot of issues, but I think it’s going to be resolved.”
Trustee Leon Potok, a Democrat, said that, within the contract between Baumer Ventures and the village, the Board of Trustees should be reinforcing the need for reimbursement for the park’s clean up and emergency services, along with any extra labor needed from different village department heads, such as Village Manager Richard Slingerland and Assistant Village Manager Dan Sarnoff.
“We are providing a key village asset to hold the festival, and that’s fine and that’s great to do, but at least we should not be subsidizing the festival,” Potok said.
Echoing similar concerns, Trustee Ilissa Miller, a Democrat, said a good estimate of how much of the police force’s time would be needed for the event and how long Harbor Island Park would be occupied is necessary. She said she doesn’t mean to set roadblocks in approving the event, but these concerns should be vetted, along with possible event discounts for village residents and business owners.
Similar cultural events in the village include Mamaroneck Shares, Harbor Fest and the Mamaroneck Wine Trail.
Trustee Louis Santoro, a Republican, said the food and wine festival would be similar to Mamaroneck Shares, which has supported local charities through block parties since 2010.
If the one contract allocated money for backup from the village manager’s office then the village would have to create similar contracts for all of its events.
Potok said Mamaroneck Shares is a non-profit event where all of the money goes to charity organizations. He suggested that all of Mamaroneck’s food and wine festival’s advertising should be tied to the village so it will receive free publicity as well.
“This is a for-profit enterprise that’s getting access to our park,” Potok said.
Richie Baumer said his company and the village will be ironing out a reimbursement amount that will be paid to the village. The village will also have the opportunity to choose a local charity to be a part of the event and receive proceeds from it.
“Mamaroneck will choose one and there will be a larger, national, charity involved,” Baumer said.
Mayor Norman Rosenblum, a Republican, said Baumer Ventures has insurance; therefore the village would be covered in case of damages, but the concerns laid out by the trustees are valid. Rosenblum said those concerns will be addressed in a contract.
“The Village of Mamaroneck is the number one destination and it’s successful because we invest in ourselves,” Rosenblum said. “Communities invest millions to bring these things in, but people come to us.”
Home Town Media Group, the parent company of The Mamaroneck Review is an official media sponsor of the Southern Westchester Food and Wine Festival.