Water Carnival May No Longer Happen In Bemidji
“It’s a travesty that there’s a thought that maybe the Water Carnival will not happen this year,” said Bemidji Woolen Mills Owner Bill Batchelder.
This has been a busy week for the Bemidji Jaycees. They just announced the Water Carnival is relocating once again after a handful of local downtown businesses voiced their concerns.
“Parking was the main reason that was the biggest concern that we heard from almost every business that had an issue,” said Water Carnival Chairman Nicole McKinnon. “They didn’t know where their regulars would be parking. Nothing that we came up with was quite enough to make them happy.”
Accordig to Water Carnival Chairman Nicole McKinnon, the Jaycees worked with the downtown Alliance Parking Committee to offer a solution such as a shuttle to drop off patrons. The Jaycees want to also maintain a positive relationship with the local businesses.
“We have a lot more projects than Water Carnival and we need their support for those as well,” said McKinnon.
Bemidji Woolen Mills would’ve been near the water carnival and knows the boost it could bring. In 1995 when the carnival was on 4th Street it was the single largest sales week in the history of the Woolen Mills.
“As a business owner I would love to have the Jaycees Water Carnival directly in front of the Bemidji Woolen Mills, because what business wouldn’t want for a week’s period of time wouldn’t want 30,000 people in front of their store?” said Batchelder.
Raechel Schwarze of KD Floral says she’s thrilled the water carnival will no longer be held downtown. She says that type of event effects her business in more ways than one.
“We do deliveries every single day that’s right in the middle of our wedding season. I had major concerns about how we were going to be able to load our product and get it out to our customers,” said Raechel Schwarze, KD Floral owner. “I think the opportunity for the downtown location is possibly there but at some point it needs to be considered how it’s affecting the businesses because they’re a large part of the community as well.”
The Jaycees say there isn’t much of a financial loss versus the loss of time. It takes about six months to plan the carnival.
“Right now we’re just looking for any options we can find if there is a way to have the carnival in Bemidji the Jaycees will find it, but right now we don’t have any guarantees that it will be coming back,” said McKinnon.