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Event organizers cancel 33rd annual Hampton Bay Days

Posted at 5:54 PM, Jun 11, 2015

Hampton, Va. - About a week after the city of Hampton announced that the Bay Days organization would receive less cash support, organizers announced that they are canceling this year’s event.

The organization went from receiving $150,000 back in 2008 to $50,000 in the more recent years.

However, sources close to the city say that it was the event’s organizer who made the decision during the June 10th council meeting to nix this year’s event completely. The reason had to do with sponsors and vendors pulling out since the city’s funding announcement.

Officials with Tidewater DockDogs say they had 80 dog lovers and their furry companions already signed up for the competition at this year’s Bay Days, which is their biggest event.

“Hampton Bay Days was one of our primary sources of income to be able to operate throughout the year,” says Gwen Mowrey, vice president of Tidewater DockDogs. “People plan out their whole season for this activity so they budgeted not only time off work, but their budget to pay for the event.”

Downtown restaurants such as Venture Kitchen and Bar say they are also bracing themselves for a financial hit.

Carlyle Bland, owner of Venture and Market 20, says their sales normally triple during the Bay Days weekend.

“The immediate thing was, ‘OK what are we going to do now?’” says Bland. “We’re really looking at ways to utilize the waterfront, it's one of our best assets downtown.”

Bland says he is taking action with other business owners to come up with ideas to replace the Bay Days event, but it is unclear if they can make anything happen this year.

Mowrey says they are scrambling last minute to find a new sponsor; however, she says they are working closely with the Bay Days organization to see if they can make the event happen in 2016.