On a Sunday afternoon in late July I sat down with Mayor Jerry Smith and other Tour de Terrace volunteers to discuss the festival, the beer garden and some of the allegations that had been made in the preceding weeks and months.
What became immediately clear was that Jerry Smith is the driving force behind Tour de Terrace and there’s a good chance that the festival would not happen without him.
“If Jerry disappeared tomorrow, it would probably all just fall apart,” said Bonnie Mercer.
Tour de Terrace started 19 years ago as a way to celebrate the City of Mountlake Terrace’s 40th birthday. Smith, who had been president of the Mountlake Terrace Youth Athletic Association (MTYAA), was one of the for individuals who got together to plan the event. The City wasn’t in a position to run or pay for the festivities at the time so Smith and the others decided to go ahead and plan the event with sponsorship from the MTYAA. The four decided on the name “Tour de Terrace”.
There have been some rumors out there that Smith personally makes as much as $250,000 each year from the festival. With all the money coming in from the carnival, the car show, beer garden and food vendors one might think that someone is making a few bucks. Smith says he spent $178 out of his own pocket to have a logo designed that first year. When all was said and done that first year expenses were $3,500 more than the income. Jerry Smith paid the difference, never being reimbursed. The second year the deficit was $9,700. Again, Smith paid the difference. Since then Smith says that he has spent tens of thousands of dollars of his own money on equipment and services in support of the annual festival.
Tour de Terrace had always rented tents for vendors to use at the festival until nine years ago when the rental company stopped offering tents. Smith says he shopped around and there was no way that Tour de Terrace was going to have enough money with the available rental rates. Instead, Smith went to his bank and took out a personal loan so that he could purchase tents to use at the festival. Every year Smith loans the tents to the festival for free.
While the amount of money coming in for the festival varies each year, the organizers say that the income is generally around $30,000-$40,000. The sources of income are booth fees for food, arts and craft, and business vendors, a percentage of the sales at the carnival, fees for the car show, profit from the beer garden and a couple of other minor sources. Some of the larger expenses are around $6,500 for music/bands, $3,000 for sound, $9,000 for insurance, and $5,000 for toilets. Add in permit fees, waste disposal and a handfull of other expenses and you can see that it appears as if no one, especially not Jerry Smith, is making a fortune from Tour de Terrace.