COOS BAY — The preliminary figures released last week for the inaugural Festival of Sail brought with them more questions than answers related to its financial success as well as what happened to some $40,000 in public money that helped fund it.
On Tuesday, 92.9 K-Dock reported that event promoter Tom Leahy told the Coos Bay-North Bend Rotary club that 3,700 tickets were purchased for the weekend.
He said an additional 2,700 tickets were donated to sponsors, investors and the community.
According to Leahy, ticket buyers from 17 states helped pump in $200,000 to the local economy in “the form of payment for products and services needed to put on the event.”
If true, the figure falls well short of the $800,000 plus organizer Draw Events touted to investors last year when pitching the festival.
The ticket numbers are also far fewer than even the lowest projections festival organizers told prospective sponsors — including Coos County, Coos Bay and North Bend — to expect.
The county gave $7,000 from its economic development fund to the Coos Bay Boat Building Center for the event, while Coos Bay and North Bend gave donations through their transient room tax, providing $15,000 and $10,000, respectively.
Coos Bay also paid $3,788 for Leahy’s lodging, travel and per diem expenses in 2015, when the then city councilor began touring other festivals in Tacoma, Duluth, Minnesota and Canada.
In a preliminary budget issued by Draw Events last year, the company had estimates ranging from 15,000 attendees for “single-day on-board” and 10,000 for “multi-day on-board.”
It also said the event could expect to see 7,000 people purchasing single-day, festival only tickets.
The promotion company did not return calls requesting comment by the time this article was published.
When asked by The World on Friday to clarify the number of…