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New director being sought for Blue Plum Festival

Jennifer Sprouse • Oct 19, 2012 at 8:59 AM

The Friends of Olde Downtowne is looking for a new director for Johnson City’s 14th Annual Blue Plum Festival.

Board members, in an effort shake things up a bit, decided to not renew the contract of David Pennington, last year’s director.

“The board has just decided that they just wanted some new energy on the project,” Steve Scheu, president of Friends of Olde Downtowne said. “David did a good job, but, you know, it’s just time to get some fresh energy.”

Scheu mentioned Pennington’s leadership and contributions over the years have brought the festival to where it is today.

According to board member Dick Nelson, the festival has seen a lot of change in the ranks, going through five directors in the festival’s 13 years.

Nelson said the festival, which is now a well-known staple to the community, has progressively gotten better over the years and that under Pennington’s leadership produced a profit this year, which will allow the festival to book better entertainment and handle other costs associated with the three-day event.

“That was a direct result of his work,” he said.

Pennington said the decision to not renew his contract, which was announced at the board’s Oct. 9 meeting, came as quite the shock after having, what he considered, a successful Blue Plum.

“It caught me off guard seeing that we had, during my time as being director of Blue Plum, we’ve brought it from a festival that was losing money to a festival that was in the black and made money and seemed to be quite successful from all the input I received,” he said. “I was told they wanted fresh blood.”

Pennington said he will no longer be part of Friends of Olde Downtowne and will continue to focus on his real estate business.

Scheu said the board is accepting applications for the part-time director position and is seeking candidates who have experience running large events, fundraising, public relations, finding sponsors as well as coordinating event volunteers.

He said anyone interested in the director’s position can send a resume to the Blue Plum Factory, 325½ E. Main St., Johnson City, TN 37601.

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