An increase in the price of parking at the Plymouth High School during the Blueberry Festival that is held over the Labor Day weekend each year could bring in as much $15,000-$20,000 over last year’s total of $40,364. Those parking at Plymouth High School this year will pay $8, up from $5. This is the first price increase since 1993.
The parking lots and grassy areas at PHS have been used since the 1980’s as the official parking for the festival. However, it wasn’t until 1992 that the organizers began keeping data. In the past 21 years, the official parking during the festival has brought in $525,000.
Charlotte Tyree, the schools’ liaison between PHS and the Blueberry Festival Committee, said there have been discussions over the last ten years concerning a price increase, but due to the economy, the matter was put on hold until now.
Profits from the parking are divided among PHS clubs and organizations that help during the festival (50 percent), the Blueberry Festival (30 percent), and the Moose Lodge (20 percent).
It is difficult to determine exactly how many cars/campers are parked each year. If there are athletic games, school personnel and students park for free and several area residents and visitors chose to buy a weekend pass rather than pay each time.
The Moose Lodge volunteers run trams between the parking lot and the festival areas in Centennial Park. Tram passes are given to everyone in a vehicle if they pay to park at the official site. This year the hours that the trams will operate have been extended to 10.30 P.M. In the past, the trams stopped at 9:00 P.M. It takes between 50-60 volunteers to provide the service in flatbed trams that have covered seating and are handicap accessible.
About 350 students from the PHS clubs and 150 adults take four-hour shifts parking cars. The volunteer adults are primarily parents and or guardians of the students and are the only ones allowed to handle money.
Last year the schools’ shares of the proceeds were shared among the speech and debate team, Broadcasting, theater Department, Band, Choir, Orchestra, Spanish Club, and ASS (foreign exchange students) and the Portuguese Club. Tyree said students involved in the Lincoln Junior High Speech Team also helped and received a percentage of the proceeds. According to Tyree percentages are divided by the number of shifts students from each club work.
Carol Anders Correspondent