2024 Cedar Polka Fest in Jeopardy??

Welcome to Cedar Polka Fest!

Is there something in the Leelanau water in ’24?? First the 2024 Leland Wine Festival was abruptly canceled & now the venerable Cedar Polka Fest is in danger. The Fest asks people to please come to the Solon Township special meeting on Friday June 28th @ 7pm to show your support for the Polka Fest & shared this article from the Leelanau Ticker:

The Polka Fest, which takes place each summer at Cedar Community Park, is set to hold its 42nd annual event in less than two months, August 22-25. But according to Lisa Rossi-Brett, executive director of the Cedar Polka Fest Foundation, the organization still does not have an approved lease agreement with Solon Township to allow it to use the tennis courts, baseball fields, and other parklands that have traditionally served as the event’s home.

In a memo to the Solon Township Board dated May 9, Kelly Claar and Mary Taylor, volunteer co-chairs of the township’s parks and recreation committee, urged board members to require new deposits, fees, and inspections before agreeing to lease the tennis courts and baseball fields to the Polka Fest Foundation.

“This month, we feel the need to stress the fact that the Polka Fest Foundation is the permit applicant for the Polka Fest,” Claar and Taylor wrote. “Any handshake or understood agreements between the Township and [past Polka Fest applicants the Cedar Chamber of Commerce] are now null and void. Given the fact that this is a different applicant, all the forms will need to be renewed and a new precedent should be set regarding the exclusive use of public parks.”

Per Rossi-Brett, the Cedar Polka Fest Foundation was formed within the last six months to serve as the “the nonprofit arm” of the Cedar Chamber of Commerce, which has hosted the festival for decades. The foundation, she says, exists strictly for tax reasons: “If you have ‘chamber of commerce’ in your title, you can never be a 501c3. So, we created the foundation, but we’re still the same organization [the township] has been dealing with for 42 years.”

Read on for lots more & hopefully this is a simple misunderstanding that can be cleared up quickly.