Gettysburg Fest canceled following resignation
The Gettysburg Fest was abruptly canceled this year following the resignation of Randy Prasse, executive director of Gettysburg Fest Inc.
This would have been the eighth year for the festival, which was scheduled for June 12-14, according to the event website.
Prasse, who told the board he was looking to take a new job in Illinois, turned in his resignation several weeks ago, leaving trustees uncertain if plans for the festival could continue without a director, said Mary Stuart Smith, chairperson for the festival's board of trustees.
"We stopped fundraising after his resignation because we thought it was unethical," Smith said.
When the position in Illinois fell through three weeks later, Smith said, Prasse reapplied for his position and the board declined his application.
"By the time we sat down last week, we'd lost three valuable weeks of fundraising," Smith said. "The difficult conclusion was that we did not have enough time to put on a quality event in June so it was cancelled."
The Gettysburg Fest receives state funding through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, according to the festival website.
The grants total around $8,000 with the rest of the funds coming from corporate sponsors and donations, Prasse said.
Only one of the pledged corporate checks had actually been received by the council, which Prasse has been charged with resolving, Smith said.
The board is hoping revenue from the sold-out Gettysburg Firken Fest on Seminary Ridge on April 11 will help ease the losses accrued by the canceled Gettysburg Fest, she said.
Despite the sudden cancellation, Prasse said, there is no animosity between himself and the board.
"It's bittersweet but I feel I've got a strong rapport with each one on the board," Prasse said.
The board of trustees will have a private executive meeting April 14 to determine the financial impact of the cancellation and whether organizing a Gettysburg Fest in 2016 will be feasible.