A press release from the St. Augustine Sunrise Rotary Club:
The St. Augustine Sunrise Rotary Club announces that they will discontinue the Rhythm & Ribs festival in its current format beginning this year, according to Club president Jake Parham.
“The Club decided that this fundraiser seems to have outlived its usefulness in its current format,” Parham said.
The Club is considering a modified version of the fundraising festival in the future.
For over 25 years, Rhythm and Ribs has held the affection of St. Augustine residents with its barbecue contest, live music and activities for the entire family. R&R has been the major fundraiser for the St. Augustine Sunrise Rotary Club.
Parham said two contributing factors responsible for the Club’s decision to discontinue the fundraiser in its 3-day format are the effect of the pandemic on large gatherings as well as the increased cost of implementing the festival.
“Prior to 2020, we always netted money to donate to various non-profits in St. Augustine. Sponsorships by local businesses helped pay for the festival itself so we had funds for donations. Since the pandemic, our attendance has decreased and so has the dollar amount of sponsorships. The exception is Bozard Ford, Canan Law and Burkhardt Sales and Service. These three organizations have always been a great support to our Rotary Club and to the community.
“We tried a different approach in 2021 hoping that people would attend with a big-name talent as our headliner. We also changed from an April event to an October event so we would have a greater selection of available talent. The bottom line is that we didn’t have the attendance we had prior to 2020 and our expenses skyrocketed,” Parham explained.
With their motto of “Service Above Self,” the pausing of their annual fundraiser could create a challenge for the Club in terms of supporting local and international issues.
“We will continue to volunteer for local service projects to help our community,” Parham said.
The Sunrise Rotary Club is also planning smaller fundraising events that are more economical to produce. Under the auspices of the Club’s foundation Rhythm & Ribs, The Big Dill Pickleball Classic is scheduled for the weekend of October 14-15 at Treaty Park in St. Augustine. There will also be a “swag bag” pickup on Friday, October 13 at Ancient City Brewing for registrants. Registration begins after April 1 on SignUp Genius with a reduced registration cost at the time.
The St. Augustine Sunrise Rotary sponsors the Period Project of St. Augustine a program to support women and girls in need of feminine hygiene product and also an improvement program in Chihuahua, Mexico to help the Tarahumara people continue to grow food and build a water sanitation system.
The St. Augustine Sunrise Rotary Club is part of Rotary International, a 1.4-million-member organization. The organization is dedicated to causes that build international relationships, improve lives and create a better world to support peace efforts and end polio forever.
Stay current on the St. Augustine Sunrise Rotary by visiting their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/staugustinesunriserotary