View the article from: The Boston Globe
By Jon Chesto
Dusty Rhodes helped rescue First Night this past winter. Now she’s hoping to do the same with Boston Harborfest this summer.
The Conventures Inc. president volunteered to have the First Night Inc. nonprofit take over Harborfest, the multi-daycelebration that precedes the July 4th fanfare.
The reason? Rhodes says Harborfest struggled to stay afloat in the past two years, in part because organizer Susan Park became ill. Prior to that, the organization suffered whenadvocate Larry Meehan, of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, died in late 2012.
“It had lost its momentum,” says Rhodes, whose firm specializes in event planning. “We … had run into a similar situation with First Night, where it needed rebranding and rebooting. [So] we’re rolling the winter and summer celebrations into one holding nonprofit.”
As with First Night, Rhodes’ team is scaling back the scope of Harborfest. This summer, it will consist of three days of events centered around Columbus Park. They will include live music, a movie screening, an arts festival, and a “Taste of Harborfest.” A Navy warship will pay a visit, docking in the Seaport.
There will also be a fireworks display over the harbor on July 2. It won’t be as grand as the more famous pyrotechnics over the Charles River. But Rhodes still needs to find a way to pay for the festival, which could cost more than $60,000. She says she’s donating her time to get Harborfest off the ground and is hoping to break even on expenses by seeking sponsorships.
“Much like we did with First Night, we’re starting on a lower scale, doing what we can with the budget we have, to grow it back into something that’s better and bigger,” Rhodes says.