ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – First Night St. Petersburg has been canceled this year due to a lack of financial support.
This year would’ve been the event’s 30th annual celebration featuring music, street performers, art and fireworks in downtown St. Petersburg.
Hal Freedman, First Night St. Petersburg board chairman, shared the cancellation with 8 On Your Side.
“It was a milestone year, so it’s very difficult for everybody on the board,” Freedman said.
Freedman said a lack of financial support is behind the board’s decision, as it takes sponsors and button sales to organize.
“When the pandemic hit and we went virtual one year, we basically lost that momentum, and it’s been hard getting sponsors since then. The sponsors pick up 35 to 40 percent, maybe even a little more, of the total cost,” he said.
According to Freedman, it costs up to $180,000 to host the event annually. Hopes are the event can return in 2023 for its 30th anniversary.
“That’s going to be based on whether we can get some sponsorships. If we can get some large sponsors by the early spring, March, I’d say, we could do it next year, if all we get is crickets, then it’s probably gone, it’s probably over,” Freedman said.