Second Saturday finds new backers

2013-12-12T00:00:00Z 2013-12-12T00:01:07Z Second Saturday finds new backersBy Darren DaRonco Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

It looks like downtown’s monthly block party isn’t going anywhere.

Several local businesses and organizations have stepped up to rescue 2nd Saturdays after the popular event’s primary sponsor announced it was backing out last week.

Community Partnership of Southern Arizona, Crest Insurance and CenturyLink all agreed to be major sponsors of the event.

“2nd Saturdays events are great and fun events that promote the culture and unity of the Tucson community,” Neal Cash, CPSA president and CEO, said in a press release.

The new sponsors, along with about a dozen existing sponsors, ensure the event will continue uninterrupted.

Last week, the block party’s future was cast in doubt when Providence Service Corp. announced it would end its funding after the Dec. 14 event.

Providence contributed around half of the $12,000 a month required to run 2nd Saturdays, but it decided to redirect its funding to other causes. The announcement sent event organizers scrambling for a solution. It took just over a week to find one.

“We went from totally nervous it was over, to totally comfortable it will continue on,” said 2nd Saturdays Steering Committee member Fletcher McCusker. “It’s also a real tribute to the success of 2nd Saturdays that such a diverse group of businesses decided to participate.”

In addition to the three new major sponsors, the consulting firm Elegant Thought and The Herbert apartment complex will pitch in as well.

Broadcasters also joined in the effort, with 94.9 MIXfm and Journal Broadcast Group agreeing to sponsor the live main stage at 2nd Saturdays and emcee the event with on-air personalities such as MIXfm’s Bobby Rich, McCusker said.

The new sponsors will contribute between $500 and $2,000 a month each to fill the gap left by Providence. As an added benefit, more sponsors translates into more stability, since the event is no longer tied to a main funding source, McCusker said.

“So if anybody changes their mind, it’s not a life-or-death situation” for 2nd Saturdays, he said.

And that’s good news to vendors and local artists like Tamina Muhammad, who’s sold her handmade jewelry and paintings at 2nd Saturdays since its inception in May 2010.

“There’s a lot of unknown talent here,” Muhammad said. “And this is their chance to get introduced to the people they didn’t know was out there. ... Each month I have different sets of people coming to see what I have to offer.”

Although the sponsor list has already taken on about a half dozen new backers, it might not be done growing.

“I’m expecting more corporate support to come on board soon, so the event will have a chance to grow even more impressive,” said City Councilman Steve Kozachik, who represents downtown. “This is a great opportunity for our partners to gain some great exposure.”

Kozachik said he couldn’t reveal details until the potential sponsors confirmed their involvement.

Contact reporter Darren DaRonco at 573-4243 or ddaronco@azstarnet.com. Follow on Twitter @DarrenDaRonco

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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