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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Riverfest is still weeks away, but two big sponsors have pulled out. Organizers are now trying to figure out a way to make up the difference.

“Sixteen-thousand dollars is hard to recover,” Riverfest board member Donna Worrell said.

Worrell did not want to comment on which sponsors pulled their support.

For more than three decades Riverfest has been a fall tradition in Wilmington. But the future of the annual event is in question.

“Not knowing that this was going to happen we had already planned our budget for the year,” Worrell said. “We also have incurred some additional expenses involving fireworks that we were not budgeted for.”

Fireworks that cost upwards of $9,000.

“Our fireworks will be at Battleship Park,” Worrell said. “That is where the additional expense is coming from.”

Riverfest must pay $500 to install a safety fence as well as $1 per square foot for possible damage to the grass in Battleship Park.

The expenses cut into scholarships for CFCC Marine Technology students.

“The scholarship means really increased access to students who would like too to get an education in the marine sciences and the causes that Riverfest supports,” CFCC spokesman David Hardin said.

Worrell says those are not the only changes.

“We did lose an event,” she said. “The lighted pirate flotilla and the children’s treasure hunt will not be able to take place this year.”

And even though some events have been dropped, Worrell says she is looking forward to new events like the dragon boat race.

“It’s going to be a nice event,” Worrell said. “We just need some financial help and some volunteers.”

Worrell says this year’s shortfall will affect next year’s event.

The 35th Riverfest is Oct. 4-6 along the downtown Wilmington riverfront.


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