Troy Daze Makes Better-Than-Expected Comeback in 2011
After 2010 hiatus, organizers say they hope to keep city tradition alive well into future
Final attendance numbers for the 2011 Troy Family Daze Festival won't be known until next week, but empty boxes of wristbands tell at least part of the story.
Tom Kaszubski, executive director of the North Woodward Community Foundation, said volunteer workers by Saturday afternoon had thrown away 12 empty boxes of wristbands, each of which hold 1,000 pieces.
It means at least 12,000 attendees were wearing those wristbands, and judging from the crowds Saturday night and all day Sunday, Kaszubski said the final number could easily go "well beyond that."
"Saturday and Sunday were really phenomenal in terms of attendance," Kaszubski said. "Troy Daze really did go far beyond our expectations this year."
That's a good thing for the North Woodward Community Foundation, which fully fronted a little more than $90,000 for this year's event and whose aim is to eventually take any profits and infuse the funds back into the community in the form of grants. Because final attendance numbers have not yet been calculated, a final revenue number is also not available.
Still, the foundation wasn't sure how the community would react this year to the classic carnival, especially since the event was shuttered in 2010 due to city budget cuts. North Woodward also held Troy Daze this year in a new location, the parking lot of Zion Christian Church on Livernois. Prior to 2010, the city of Troy had fronted the money for the event and held it in different locations.
Troy Daze ran from Thursday to Sunday. And while Kaszubski said attendance Thursday and Friday could have been better, it definitely picked up over the weekend with lines for rides at least 60 people deep.
Kaszubski also said that on Sunday people started lining up at noon to get into the grounds even though it didn't open until 1:00 p.m.
It all means that Troy Daze will be coming around again next year, and Kaszubski credits the initial success with the changes the foundation made to try and draw in more crowds.
"First of all, the economy had gotten to everyone, and families don't have as much to spend," Kaszubski said. "So this year we just charged a flat fee of $2 per person, and kids under three were free."
In prior years, the city of Troy had charged $10 per car as admission.
Kaszubski also said the level of live entertainment this year was a big draw, which was organized by volunteer Amy J. Mitchell.
Mitchell brought in everything from break dancers on Friday night to local bands throughout the weekend to family square dancing on Sunday, all of which was free once people paid the $2 entrance charge. A dance floor appeared at the event for the first time so people could participate in the various concerts.
"I just really tried to appeal to everyone, and I just thought about what's fun about going to a carnival--the rides, the food, and the music." Mitchell said. "Next year we'll take even more risks with the entertainment."
On Sunday afternoon there were countless families and kids roaming around, with many people standing in line to ride classic carnival rides like "Starship 3000", "The Zipper", and "Crazy Dance." Rosco the clown, a big hit throughout the event, made balloon animals for children as they crowded around him. And people weary from the crowds could pay $10 to get a 15-minute back massage from a local chiropractic clinic or sit back and watch a flame thrower work his magic.
It was good old-fashioned fun, agreed several carnival goers.
"Where else in Troy are you going to find this in your own backyard?" said John Townsend of Troy.
Kaszubski said the biggest surprise this year was all the volunteers who stepped up to keep costs low and help pull off the event. Because it no longer was being run by the city, the foundation did not have city resources such as police and other city workers at their disposal to help run Troy Daze.
The foundation hired security and parking attendants, but that was it -- all other workers at Troy Daze were unpaid volunteers, and there were about 75 of them on the grounds at all times.
"The great thing about this year is that we really took Troy Daze back to its roots," Kaszubski said. "It had always been a volunteer effort centered around a sense of community when it started (in the 60s), and we hope to keep it that way in the future."
What you might have missed
Did you attend the Troy Family Daze Festival this year? If not, take a look at some of the photos and stories below from Troy Patch to see what you missed.
- Wednesday's story about the history and comeback of Troy Family Daze, including photos of crews setting up rides.
- The full schedule of events and entertainment during the festival.
- Special Children's Day kick-off event on Thursday featuring a story about the day and photos of those attending.
- Opening ceremonies and evening photos on Friday night.
- Photos from one of the children's talent shows, rides and games on Saturday.