City considers extending hours for Dozinky

The New Prague City Council held discussions on Dozinky, the city’s harvest festival, at its Monday, May 6, meeting. The talks centered on extending it to 11 p.m. Saturday and will continue at the council’s next meeting. The New Prague Chamber of Commerce organizes the annual September festival that is held in the city’s downtown area along Main Street. Currently Dozinky events begin on Friday night and ends at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Main Street and part of Central Avenue N are closed during that time for several activities.

Kristy Mach, executive director of the New Prague Chamber of Commerce, brought the request before the council. The chamber would like food vendors along Main Street until 7 p.m. The Central Avenue N beer garden would feature a band at 7 p.m. and would close at 11 p.m. The extension would likely benefit Main Street businesses that are open Saturday evening.

Mach explained business owners and people have asked about Saturday night events. She noted that other town festivals tend to be two days, while Dozinky is basically 24 hours.

Mach said that in talking with Police Chief Mark Vosejpka and Maintenance Supervisor Glen Sticha, who oversees public works, she realizes there would be some challenges to the staff.

Chief Vosejpka and Sticha both noted among the challenges would be getting people to help. For Vosejpka it would be additional law enforcement. The city alreadyuses the Scott County Reserve Officers. They are there from Friday until Saturday. Public works has had to work out schedules to minimize overtime. It was estimated that the extra cost for law enforcement, public works labor and equipment would be $5,445.

Mayor Chuck Nickolay asked what the chamber expected for a crowd size on Saturday and if the chamber has done an estimate on how much money the six extra hours will bring in? Mach replied they expected people would go home for a break and then come back or new people would come. As for money, the chamber had not done an estimate.

Mach realized there were a lot of unknowns. This was something that the chamber board had asked her to pursue. She could go back to the board for further discussion.

Council member Shawn Ryan asked how much time would the chamber need to organize and promote the extension of Dozinky? Mach said they were hoping to promote it during the summer. The chamber wanted to get a band that had its own following to draw people in, although it was still in the planning stages. The longer they wait the harder it will be to get a bigger band.

Council member Pat Scripture asked how much the city had budgeted for Dozinky. City Administrator Mike Johnson replied the city has about $11,000 for police and city staff. There was nothing budgeted for the extra six hours.

For collecting garbage, Mayor Nickolay asked if non-profits or teenagers, like the city’s seasonal workers, could be hired. Mach and Sticha said at one time the local Boy Scouts of America collected garbage, but parents were concerned about open cans of liquor and bees in the cans. Also, the garbage became so heavy that the dads of Boy Scouts had to pull the bags out of the cans. Sticha said that usually in September the city’s seasonal workers have gone back to school or college.

Mach suggested they could put the collecting of garbage out for bids to businesses such as Lakers New Prague Sanitary.

Council members Mark Bartusek, Dave Bruzek and Ryan all liked the idea if they could make it work. Bruzek said that people in their 20s and 30s come back for Dozinky and are looking for something to do on Saturday night.

The consensus was to have Mach go back to the chamber board and discuss what had been talked about. She or a representative could come back to the council’s Monday, May 20, meeting and continue discussions.