Fenwick To Pitch In Funds For Summer Beach Movies

FENWICK ISLAND – The Town Council agreed last week to financially support Fenwick Flicks, keeping the free event alive in the 2014 summer season.
On Friday, Lauren Weaver, representing the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, approached the Town Council requesting support to continue Fenwick Flicks during the summer season.
“We absolutely love Fenwick Flicks,” Weaver said. “Our mission is to collaborate with professional individuals, as well as the businesses, and to represent our community here in the quiet resort.”
For the past few years, the Chamber of Commerce has put on several movies each summer where residents and visitors come to sit on the beach and watch family-friendly flicks for free. It’s similar to what Ocean City does in the summer months, but the Maryland resort offers it multiple times a week at various locations.
According to Weaver, the Fenwick event has grown to be successful with anywhere from 100 to 400 attendees per movie depending on the weather.
The events have been sponsored by many different businesses, such as the Freeman Stage at Bayside, Barton’s Grand Rental Station, Anne Powell and Jennifer Hughes Team at Ocean Atlantic and Sotheby’s and PNC.
However, in the past couple of summers, the chamber has been struggling with covering equipment and labor costs to keep Fenwick Flicks going.
“It is something that we love providing, however it is labor intensive and throughout the years we have unfortunately lost money,” Weaver said. “One of the challenges that we face is our businesses are fearful we are taking people off the streets that would be playing mini golf or riding go karts and providing a free alternative. Feedback we have received from a lot of businesses is that, why would they support that? Our real estate businesses love it because it is a free event for them to offer their renters while they’re in town but for the past couple of years we haven’t been able to cover the costs.”
Weaver asked the council for consideration to equally split the costs of Fenwick Flicks during the summer of 2014. The chamber is currently reorganizing and the new board is brainstorming other sponsorship and revenue opportunities for the future.
Last summer it cost $1,190 per movie. The town’s matching contribution for next summer would be $1,785.
“As a new staff, we are going off of numbers … but until we can justify that the board can’t see moving forward with it without a more agreed upon collaboration with the amount of work that goes into it,” Weaver said.
Councilman Todd Smallwood figured the chamber lost about $215 per movie or a total of $715 over the entire summer.
“I think you guys do a great job,” he said. “It is a great event to have and adds a benefit to our town’s residents and renters. I would love to see it continue, and I don’t think its fair for you folks to suffer a loss when we take it for a benefit.”
Town Manager Merritt Burke pointed out the Capital Improvement Budget for Fiscal Year 2014 is projecting to have excess funds that could be reallocated toward Fenwick Flicks should the council approve.
Councilman Gardner Bunting made a motion the Town of Fenwick fund up to $2,000 to assist the Fenwick-Bethany Area Chamber of Commerce to run three movies on the beach in the 2014 summer for Fenwick Flicks. The council voted unanimously to approve.
“It is being offered in our town for our people. We are offering to help with the movies, which we have never done before,” Mayor Audrey Serio said.