The downtown nonprofit organizing this spring’s “Big Bash” in Lee’s Summit has met its initial fundraising goal of $35,000, so now it aims to raise an additional $15,000 to fund improvements downtown ahead of the event.
The party, known as the Big Bash, is scheduled for March 28 in downtown Lee’s Summit as part of the 2018 Main Street Now Conference, which takes place March 26-28 in Kansas City. It was announced last June that Lee’s Summit would be showcased as part of the conference.
The Big Bash, which will be open to conference attendees as well as to the public, will come at the end of the three-day conference, which is expected to bring more than 1,600 people from across the country to Kansas City, according to Main Street America.
Fundraising for the event started last summer. Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, the nonprofit organizing the party, said in November that its goal was to raise $35,000.
Executive Director Donnie Rodgers Jr. said this week that the nonprofit met that goal thanks to individual and business donors. The money will go toward entertainment costs and other needs in hosting the event in downtown Lee’s Summit, Rodgers said.
The nonprofit said it wants to bring back an alley arcade and interactive public art as its done in previous Fourth Friday Art Walk events as well as a photo bus (like a photo booth), street musicians, buskers, magicians — “everything peppered throughout the downtown area,” Rodgers said.
The nonprofit has said it’s expecting 600 to 800 conference attendees from across the country to come to downtown Lee’s Summit on the night of the Big Bash.
Since raising the $35,000, the nonprofit decided to expand upon its original goal and is now looking to raise around $50,000 “to enhance the event and also to help fund other improvements to downtown Lee’s Summit that will last beyond the evening’s event, such as new lamp post banners and special event signage,” Rodgers said.
Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street is accepting donations on its website to help support the event and downtown.
The Big Bash in Lee’s Summit, the executive director said, is considered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the community.
“It’s just a great opportunity for us to celebrate how far we’ve come,” Rodgers said. “Our organization, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, started in 1989, and I think at that time there were about 18 or 19 vacant storefronts downtown. The transformation that’s taken a hold of this community, I think sometimes, we take it for granted. It’s something really special for Lee’s Summit. It’s something to be proud of.”
The Big Bash is scheduled from 6 to 10 p.m. on March 28 in downtown Lee’s Summit.