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Inaugural Festival of Arts and Bikes disappoints

Attendance estimates for Havana’s inaugural Festival of Arts and Bikes this past weekend fell short of projections, but organizers say they’re glad the event got off the ground and promised to attract more people next year. Havana Main Street Executive Director Tony Lombardo co-organized the event with the Havana Merchants Association and expressed disappointment in the weekend’s turnout but remained enthusiastic. “We probably drew about 300 people the whole weekend,” said Lombardo, who had earlier projected attendance to be 800 – 1,000. Lombardo said Havana’s festival numbers were likely hurt by other festivals in Quincy, Monticello and Tallahassee. “We’ll just have to figure out what we need to do better next year,” Lombardo said. Due to the lower-than-expected turnout, the organizers decided to refund the vendors’ fees, which ranged from $50 to $125. “We want to build relationships with vendors that ensure they will come back with us to future events,” Lombardo said. “We felt we had to refund their money as a good-faith measure to get them to come back with us in the future.” Despite the disappointing attendance, Lombardo spoke enthusiastically of the festival’s bike raffle, which awarded 11 bikes to winners and raised an estimated $1,800 to help cover festival expenses. The bikes were donated by Hubs and Hops bike store of Thomasville, Ga. Restaurant owner Eddie Bass, who was recently elected to the Havana Town Council, won the grand prize – a road bike valued at $830. Five youth bikes were awarded to students at Havana Magnet School who had exhibited good behavior during the past school year.

Randall Lieberman

Bicyclists participate in the parade at the Festival of Arts and Bikes in Havana Saturday.