Da Vinci Days is unlikely to put on a festival in 2015.
Board president Michael Dalton told the Gazette-Times on Monday that the festival, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2013, still must retire $30,000 in debt before it can move forward with planning a new version of the annual salute to science, art, technology and whimsy.
“We have no current plans for the summer of 2015,” Dalton said. “We’re committed to da Vinci Days, but priority one is debt.”
Last month the festival repaid the $10,000 bridge loan it had received from the city of Corvallis.
“They appreciated that, and I feel good about that,” Dalton said of the Nov. 19 Administrative Services Committee meeting at which he and board vice president Bill York presented a check to the City Council committee.
The festival was not held this year while organizers worked on reinventing the event named in honor of Leonardo da Vinci, the Renaissance-era artist and inventor.
The Graand Kinetic Sculpture races were held last summer, and Dalton noted that the races, which are organized independent of the festival, are scheduled for next July 18-19.
During the festival's year of hiatus, Dalton and his board organized public outreach sessions and surveys to gauge public interest in the event and to solicit ideas for its renewal.
“We have the report and we are working through it,” Dalton said. “The feedback we got was to take a look at our pricing; that it might be too expensive.”
At the Administrative Services meeting, York noted the possibility of reducing ticket prices from $20 to perhaps $6 or $8. But such a move would require pledges of financial contributions from the city, Benton County, Oregon State University and other community partners.
Dalton and York also discussed changing the festival date and moving some events to May to take advantage of the presence of students, both K-12 and from OSU.
Dalton told the Gazette-Times that the board hopes to resolve the debt issue by the first quarter of 2015.
“I’m an optimist. I’m always hopeful,” he said. “But until you get out of debt, you can’t go forward. The board still is meeting and talking, and key stakeholders are aware of where we are (in the process).”