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Summertime Event on Hiatus in Galesburg

T.J. Carson
Park Plaza is the site of Cafe in the Park each summer in Galesburg. It was built in the 1970's and is located on East Main Street.

Cafe in the Park has been a Wednesday afternoon summer tradition in Galesburg for decades. It's where someone can enjoy food from local restaurants and live music in an outdoor setting. But organizer Bill Morris said he won’t have time to put on the event this summer.

Morris said his duties as Executive Director of the Galesburg Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, which include developing a new strategic plan this year, will prevent him from dedicating a day away from the office to setup and run Cafe in the Park, which is held in Park Plaza.

"It starts at 7:30 in the morning getting it setup for an event that runs from 11:00-1:00. And then it takes until about 2:30 to tear it down. And then by the time you deliver the trailer full of all the tables and chairs, and return the pickup truck to where it came from, that time of day is over," Morris said.

He said that’s in addition to the time needed outside of the event to schedule music acts, schedule which restaurants serve the food each week, and line up sponsorships.

Morris said the event averaged around 250 people each week but at best was a break-even event for the Galesburg Business Association. And for some businesses, it was hit-or-miss on whether they would make money for the day.

"It was more of an exposure thing for them. Now some of the restaurants, they're geared, they would probably make a little bit of money. But others like Landmark, where he brings out all this staff, and he does all this wonderful work, and Chez Willy's, it just isn't profitable for them. Because you have to have so many people in the restaurant and out there," Morris said.

Morris said the event’s hiatus will last at least a couple years because the city plans to renovate Park Plaza next year.