Having been involved in RiverFest before my venturing into the depths of Que'in on Red, I can state emphatically that one was not chosen over the other by the city nor were sponsorships ripped from the moorings of Riverfest.
The idea of Que'in came about while I was on the board of RiverFest. The thought came from Pineville's concern over the turnout on Pineville's side of the river. It came to me that as Louisiana at that time did not have a barbeque festival of significant notice, this would be a perfect venue for the Pineville side. I approached first fellow board members Rich Dupree and Mayor Fields with the idea. As it would have had beer tied to it, it was never fully pursued. I have envisioned this part of RiverFest (yes it was to be a part of RiverFest) to have taken place at Lake Buhlow, contained behind the fence. I knew that it would overshadow RiverFest at some point in time and having had the discussion with fellow board members and others not associated with RiverFest, decided that it would be better as a seperate entity.
In the formation of Que'in, a decision by the committee was made to associate the festival with Memphis in May. Mulitple dates for the festival were sent to Memphis for approval. Memphis in May picked the date for the festival, no one in Alexandria had a say in that decision. We are in the Memphis in may circuit of events. This is important as the orginal idea also included bringing people from outside the area to Alexandria. Last year several of our entrants were from outside the state. This year we expect even more.
As to the absurd statement that Que'in went after the same sponsors that RiverFest used and drained the coffers, I can state this: As a business owner here in Alexandria, once you are known for giving to the community you are unindated with requests from everywhere, asking that you support their endeavors. You do what you can, but there is only so much to give and the decision to give is on the giver not the taker.
Before I close I will state this fact: While on the board of RiverFest, we did not have full board participation during the festival and at most meetings. The Que'in committee was there in it's entirety during the operation of the festival and we were never at attendance less than a quorum.
It is with sincere sadness that I heard RiverFest will not happen this year, I personally worked 4 years with other dedicated individuals to make it a success. My board term expired last year, however, had I been asked to remain, I would have done so and worked equally as hard to ensure it's future. But the two festivals have nothing to do with one another except in the conception of the idea of Que'in.
If you wish verification of the following statement, check with Myron Lawson, Charles Frederick Smith, Chuck Fowler, Lisa Harris, Mayor Fields, Rich Dupree and former Alexandria Mayor Randolph.