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Council Discusses Possible Changes For IBIM

The city spent $34,000 on It's Better In Mentor last year

The city lost $34,402.66 overall on the in 2011, according to a report City Manager Kenneth Filipiak gave to City Council Tuesday afternoon.

That counts $14,000 the city spent on wages and another $23,000 it spent on overtime -- most of which went to public works employees, policemen and firemen.

This is the first year the city of Mentor took employee expenses into account when considering how much it spends on the festival.

"I think you'd find the numbers in 2011 would be similar to past years if we gathered the same information," Filipiak said.

While neither the City Council nor administration want to stop supporting the 3-day festival, both groups are interested in finding ways to improve it and to get more for the city's money.

Filipiak and members of City Council mentioned other concerns about It's Better In Mentor Days during a work session Tuesday afternoon at City Hall. Filipiak noted that the property tends to suffer a lot of damage during the festival because of foot traffic.

He added that repairs to the property were more expensive than usual in 2011.

Council Vice President Ray Kirchner expressed a general weariness with the festival's approach to entertainment.

"I think we need to come up with a new direction," he said. "The feedback I've gotten is it's the same old carny rides and the same old carny food. It's tired."

George Maier, the co-chair on the festival committee, said a lot of money comes in from the foods and ride.

"When the festival was first started 33 years ago, we intentionally didn't want that carnival atmosphere," Maier said. "But the rides pay for a good portion of the festival."

According to Filipiak's report, the rides generated $15,000. The food made another $10,000.

However, Maier added that he was not opposed to improving the festival.

"I think we're all in favor of revitalizing It's Better In Mentor," he said. "We've been attempting to do that over the years."

A Taste Of It's Better In Mentor

One of the suggested changes is to combine It's Better In Mentor with the event, which celebrates and promotes local restaurants.

"With all the restaurants we have in the city, I'm sure all these people would like to get their names out there," Kirchner said.

On the City of Mentor's Facebook page, the administration asked people if they would like to see Taste of Mentor combined with IBIM. One resident, Richard Thiedemann, replied that he thought Taste of Mentor might get lost in the shuffle with all the other festivities.

Thiedemann and other residents suggested hosting the event at or even if the were looking for a change of location.

Also speaking about food at the festival, David Bobeczko -- the owner of East Coast Custard -- attended the Council's work session. He said he brought his business's custard trucks to several festivals around the area but he always had difficulty with IBIM.

"I've met resistance for six years, trying to participate in the festival," he said.

Kevin Malecek, the CEO of the Mentor Area Chamber of Commerce, said he was in favor of any changes to the festival if they helped local businesses.

"I think we'd be interested in anything that promotes businesses in the community," Malecek said.

Malecek is also the City Council President for Willoughby Hills. He said Willoughby Hills recently revamped its corn festival. He suggested Mentor City Council allow 2012 to be a year of transition while preparing something new for 2013.

City Council concluded the discussion on IBIM by appointing a committee to discuss possible changes. The committee is comprised of Kirchner, Maier and Ward 2 Councilwoman Carolyn Bucey.

Mary Jo Stack February 08, 2012 at 01:37 PM
I have been very disappointed in IBIM. If this is about Mentor, I'd like to see more local groups taking part in the festival. Sometimes it may be cost prohibitive for them. A few years back I asked about a booth for all of the Mentor PTA's wanting to sell popcorn, hot dogs and lemonade. I was told that they couldn't have duplicate food items being sold. So some out of the city vendor can come in and make money while local organizations get shut out? Let local groups come in and provide more games for the kids. In a city where I once lived, their local festival had one local group sold hamburgers and hot dogs, others had several games, the high school cheerleaders did the dunk tank, etc. I enjoy visiting the political tent, but other than that and some entertainment from Mentor students, I don't feel this is about Mentor. I would rather see these groups or Mentor businesses taking part.
Kristin Peters February 08, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I agree with Mary! IBIM is the same-old. Cut out the carnival food, and give our local restaurants, citizens, and organizations a chance. I've heard several people complain that they buy a pass for their children to ride the rides, but over half the rides are broken, missing safety belts, out of order, etc. This isn't safe. I know several families who attended the 2011 IBIM parade, but didn't come to the festival because the experience they had in 2010 with the rides was a huge waste of time and money. I think incorporating Taste of Mentor into IBIM is a great idea. Lastly, IBIM needs to cater to everyone. I know a lot of adult's, especially single couples in their 20's and 30's, who don't attend the festival because they feel there is nothing for them to do. Mentor is a great city with lots of creative talent...lets start putting this talent to even more use!
Dave Davies February 08, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Hi Kris- Thank You for offering your insights. It takes a lot to be able to pull this off every year, and we are always looking for volunteers to help in various aspects of the Festival. Like to help? Please send me an email: ibimparade@yahoo.com and we'll let you know about our meetings. Thanks! Dave Davies Parade Co-Ordinator, "It's Better In Mentor" Festival Committee
Joseph February 08, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Mentor should have a festival that does not include using tax dollars. Tax dollars should not be used to promote Mentor. After all, the tax payers already know it's better in Mentor! City employees should be asked to donate time towards the festival so there isn't an outrageous bill at the end of the festival. There are a lot of businesses that would love to be included in the festival and their participation can help with the bottom line. I still enjoy rides and unhealthy food, but would gladly give it up for a "better" IBIM.
Kelly Orlando February 08, 2012 at 11:52 PM
What are we good at here in Mentor? Let's showcase that. We have many pet services, so maybe some sort of competition (maybe an obedience business could volunteer to organize that). Maybe some sort of cook off? People make fun of us for having a ton of restaurants - let's see what they've got! Location is good, just want more variety. It would tear up Wildwood grounds. Maybe the folks at Wildwood have some creative venue they've been dreaming about? I agree with Joseph, too. It should be a self-supporting event - I'd rather spend that money on our civil folks that give us great support. Hope that helped. :)

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