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3/7/2014 11:13:00 AM
Q: I understand entry fees for the Stokesdale parade were not refunded even though the parade was cancelled in December due to inclement weather. I'm curious as to how other towns handle this situation.

A: You are correct - at its Jan. 21 meeting, the Stokesdale Town Council voted 4-1 to keep the $15 parade entry fees and additional business donations the town received for the parade, which was cancelled on Dec. 14 due to inclement weather. Vicki White-Lawrence, who chaired
the parade committee last year, was the only council member in favor of offering refunds.

Stokesdale uses income from the parade each year to offset parade expenses and to help cover the cost of hanging up and taking down holiday banners in the downtown area.

We checked with three neighboring towns which have holiday parades to see if they have a policy regarding refunding parade fees in the event of cancellation.

Although Pleasant Garden initially thought its December holiday parade might have to be cancelled altogether because of inclement weather, the town was able to re-schedule the parade.

"When we thought we were cancelling the parade, we contacted each and every entry and asked them if they wanted a refund or wanted to apply it to next year's event," says Sandy Carmany, town administrator.

With the exception of one person, Carmany says everyone chose to apply the $5 entry fee to the 2014 holiday parade.

Arzell Montgomery, who oversees the annual holiday event for Walnut Cove, says the town does not charge parade entry fees, but does charge vendor fees to individuals and businesses who set up during the parade to sell merchandise (individuals pay $25 and commercial vendors pay $50). Walnut Cove has a policy that all vendor fees will be refunded if the holiday parade is cancelled.

Kernersville's holiday parade was scheduled for Dec. 8. Because temperatures on that day dipped into the low 30s and sleet and ice were predicted, the parade was cancelled and it was not rescheduled.

Mary Kay Csanyi, administrative assistant for the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce, said the organization charges an entry fee for individuals and businesses. Nonprofits such as churches and schools participate for free.

The chamber did not volunteer to give refunds when the parade was cancelled, but did give refunds upon request.

"If someone asked, we gave them a refund or the choice to transfer their fee to next year's parade," says Csanyi. Only a few people requested a refund.

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