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Venetian Festival Comes to an End

      9/27/11 - After much deliberation, the Senior Membership of the Venetian Festival made the difficult decision to retire this iconic event that has been a summer destination in the City of St. Joseph for 33 years.

 The decision came only after exhaustive discussion of any reasonable means of redesigning the festival to fit the parameters set forth by the city during a meeting with city officials last week.

     While city officials offered to listen to a new plan for the festival, they were direct in that they were inflexible on certain constraints, and festival organizers felt there was indifference toward working cooperatively to retain the event in the city.

 Following that meeting, festival organizers studied a variety of concepts for redesigning the festival to work within the city's parameters including, as many have often suggested, "returning to its roots" of a smaller festival confined to the arboretum. However, the passing of years that, among other things, resulted in significant growth of trees in the original arboretum location, the need to update the infrastructure to support the event, public safety issues, and skyrocketing costs of entertainment, made that option neither viable logistically or advisable financially for the organization.

      Consequently, after much hopeful discussion of continuing on, the membership came to the sad conclusion that the Venetian Festival no longer had a home in the city of St. Joseph, and elected to retire the event.

      For festival organizers, it has truly been an honor and a privilege to present this festival to southwestern Michigan for the past 33 years. The Venetian Festival has been a labor of love for all of us involved, and we are deeply saddened to see the festival come to this end. But we hope that you - our friends and fans - will continue to cherish the memories of spending the third weekend of every July at the Venetian Festival, and we thank you for the wonderful memories you have created for us, as well.


Venetian Festival on the Saint Joseph River, Inc.
Po Box 51, St. Joseph, MI  49085