Letters

Letters 08-29-2016

Religious Bigotry President Obama has been roundly criticized for his apparent unwillingness to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” His critics seem to suggest that through the mere use of that terminology, the defeat of ISIS would be assured...

TC DDA: Focus On Your Mission What on earth is the Traverse City DDA thinking? Purchasing land around (not within) its TIF boundaries and then offering it at a discount to developers? That is not its mission. Sadly enough, it is already falling down on the job regarding what is its mission. Crosswalks are deteriorating all around downtown, trees aren’t trimmed, sidewalks are uneven. Why can’t the DDA do a better job of maintaining what it already has? And still no public restrooms downtown, despite all the tax dollars captured since 1997. What a joke...

European-Americans Are Boring “20 Fascinating People” in northern Michigan -- and every single one is European-American? Sorry, but this is journalistically incorrect. It’s easy for editors to assign and reporters to write stories about people who are already within their personal and professional networks. It’s harder to dig up stuff about people you don’t know and have never met. Harder is better...

Be Aware Of Lawsuit While most non-Indians were sleep walking, local Odawa leaders filed a lawsuit seeking to potentially have most of Emmet County and part of Charlevoix County declared within their reservation and thus under their jurisdiction. This assertion of jurisdiction is embedded in their recently constructed constitution as documentation of their intent...

More Parking Headaches I have another comment to make about downtown TC parking following Pat Sullivan’s recent article. My hubby and I parked in a handicap spot (with a meter) behind Mackinaw Brew Pub for lunch. The handicap spot happens to be 8-10 spaces away from the payment center. Now isn’t that interesting...

Demand Change At Women’s Resource Center Change is needed for the Women’s Resource Center for the Grand Traverse Area (WRCGT). As Patrick Sullivan pointed out in his article, former employees and supporters don’t like the direction WRCGT has taken. As former employees, we are downright terrified at the direction Juliette Schultz and Ralph Soffredine have led the organization...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Are we missing the boat...
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Are we missing the boat on festivals?

Robert Downes - July 14th, 2008
Are we missing the boat on festivals?
The National Cherry Festival has come and gone here in Traverse City, blessed this year with great weather and good attendance. The music was good, the jumping dogs were cool and a lot of tourists came to town despite gloomy predictions and high gas prices.
What’s not to like?
It made this long-time festival-goer wonder why Traverse City doesn’t have more bayside festivals during the summer? After all, many waterfront cities, such as Milwaukee and Detroit, have festivals every single week.
Obviously, that wouldn‘t be a good idea for a residential community, but how much is too much?
In March, the Traverse City Commission unanimously approved a new policy to limit festivals in the city’s parks. In particular, at the Open Space, which is home to the Cherry Festival and TC Film Festival.
The new Park and Public Land Use Policy states that TC’s Open Space “shall have not more than two major events (during the summer) in addition to the National Cherry Festival and shall not have more than one major event during the rest of the year.”
Hmm... that means that if the Film Fest is one of the major events, then we have the possibility of having just one more during the summer at the Open Space.
That’s not very forward-thinking. It’s sort of like tying your hands on the off-chance that you might hit yourself on the head with a hammer.
Imagine if prior to the arrival of the Film Festival three years ago, the city commission had approved an even stricter policy to head off the objections of conservatives who didn’t like Michael Moore. Without the use of the Open Space for free films, the Film Festival might be just a footnote by now, instead of a spectacular success.
So why slam the door on future events which could prove to be just as valuable in their own way? Some ideas:
• The Open Space practically cries out for a jazz festival. What a perfect setting, and it would draw a crowd similar to that of the Film Fest.
• Then too, the first people who lived on these shores were the Ottawa and Chippewa. Why not a bayside pow-wow with a recreated Native American village to celebrate their heritage?
• Why not a classical music festival? The TSO concerts by the bay used to be a big hit during the Cherry Festival. A two-day festival of classical/pops music would give the symphony a boost.
• A wine and food festival at the Open Space could be a huge hit, considering the overflow crowds that bookend the summer at winefests in Leland and Northport.
• Why not a Green Festival to celebrate our environment at Earth Day?
These are all benign event ideas, unlikely to attract the kind of yahoos that turn some people off at the Cherry Festival.
Fortunately, there appears to be plenty of waffle room in the new policy in terms of considering what would be a “major event.“ But who decides?
Obviously, there are some bad ideas for festivals. Many residents scratched their heads over the idea of a jetski festival a couple of years ago, and few supported the Christian electronic music festival.
But was that a good reason to throw the baby out with the bath water on this issue? TC may be passing up millions in tourist revenues that could be generated by a few choice events. Perhaps someday, we’ll reconsider what we’ve lost.

 
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