GoFundMe drive has few days left to meet $20k goal


GOODBYE EASTER | Unless organizers can raise $20,000 in the next few days, Easter in Lee Park will likely be cancelled.


JAMES RUSSELL  |  Staff Writer

Cedar Springs Merchants Association has only six days left to reach its $20,000 goal in its GoFundMe account intended to raise the funds necessary to stage the annual Easter in Lee Park event on April 5.

The group, as of 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, had collected only $845 toward its $20,000 goal. CSMA officials, in a press release announcing the effort, said the March 4 deadline is necessary because organizers need time to get the city permits necessary to hold the event. New requirements by the city, including a fence around the perimeter of the park, security and permits, have increased the cost of staging the event to $25,000, “a level no longer sustainable by the association itself,” according to the statement.

If the goal isn’t met, pledged funds will not be charged to donors’ accounts. The group then has two options: cancel the event or stage a bare-bones event without the traditional Pooch Parade and live music. (Once a mainstay of Easter in Lee Park, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra no longer performs due to increased extra costs associated with staging an event on a holiday.)

If CSMA decides to host a bare-bones event, they will emphasize park rules and guidelines, said David Berryman, executive director of the CSMA. In this case, dogs must be on leashes and attendees may not have alcohol or open containers.

Berryman admitted the campaign is a last ditch effort. He called the fundraising strategy “all or nothing,” and he does not anticipate meeting the fundraising deadline.

Easter in the Park is not the only event having a hard time. Overall “it’s getting harder for events to find corporate sponsors,” Berryman said, noting he knows of several other area organizers that have dramatically scaled down their events, if not completely cancelled them.

Before pulling its support of the event in a divisive dispute in 2011, the Turtle Creek Association worked with the Lee Park Conservancy, the nonprofit organization that runs the park, to stage Easter in Lee Park. According to Dallas Voice archives, TCA withdrew its support about a month before the event that year, choosing instead to stage an alternative “family-friendly” event called “Creek Craze.”

Critics accused the TCA of homophobia in pulling its support, and “Creek Craze” flopped.

CSMA has continued to fund Easter in Lee Park, even though it has lost money each year since, Berryman said.

CSMA President Alan Pierce said in a written statement, “It would be a tragedy to lose this great Easter tradition in Dallas. We must ask for help in order to continue it.”

Thom Dance, who runs The UPS Store on Cedar Springs and is a member of the CSMA, said he hopes for a last minute intervention. “I hope we can save it. It would be a shame to lose it.”

CSMA is taking donations through GoFundMe. To contribute, visit EasterInLeePark.com.
Sponsorship levels for businesses and corporations include Title Sponsor, Entertainment Sponsor and Pooch Parade Sponsor. Individuals and organizations can donate at a variety of levels, all of which are listed on the website. Most donation levels include a reward. For instance, donate at least $25 — the Pal level — and have your name listed on the website as a donor.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 27, 2015.