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Multiple reasons for Boomtown Days festival cancellation - KOAM TV 7

Multiple reasons for Boomtown Days festival cancellation

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For the second year in a row Joplin's Boomtown Days festival has been canceled.

Last year Boomtown Days organizers said attendance in 2011 was lower than expected, plus organizers wanted to devote all attention toward a tornado memorial event.

Now, a group of volunteers who usually promote a positive Boomtown Days say they are instead still trying to combat some bad publicity.

In September former Boomtown Days financial chairwoman Kim Lester plead guilty to stealing $108,000 from the festival's revenue fund, she put back $64,000 before the crime was noticed.

Lester agreed to pay $40,000 in restitution.

"You work with people for a long time and to have something like this, it's damaging to the morale of the committee - it hurts - it's uncomfortable," says Martha Getz, a Boomtown Days committee member.  "We need to reevaluate our financial processes - we have."

The festival's publicity chairwoman said in a statement about this year's Boomtown Days cancellation:  "...this is a unique opportunity to re-evaluate the event and find new ways to rebuild the festival into something bigger and better."

Getz says several committee members are still focused more on recovery efforts after the May 2011 tornado.

"As with all things, we need a fresh start," says Getz.

Getz says some Boomtown committee members may soon resign.

In the meantime, a festival meant to celebrate Joplin's past is on an indefinite hold.

BBoomtown Days committee members would not release specific financial numbers to us, saying they were not at liberty to reveal them.  The Boomtown organization's tax exempt status was automatically revoked by the IRS for failure to file a 990 Form for three consecutive years.

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