Letters

Letters 05-25-2015

Michigan’s Depleted Funds So now we know why the Michigan legislators wanted to rush Proposal 1 down our throats.

Legality of Marriage & Divorce An article in the May 25th issue of Time reveals that: “We now have reached a point where fewer than half of kids leaving high school will have their parents living together.”

Cold Paradise Your May 18 cover story “Why is Northern Michigan So White?” is preposterous. For starters, we have plenty of diversity in this region: German, Polish, Swedish, Lithuanian, Norwegian, French Canadian, etc. – all groups that flourish in colder, harsh winter climates.

Unpave Those Roads Michigan legislators recently put before the people a proposal to increase tax to increase funds to the DOT and road commissions across the state for road repairs. The proposal failed by a significant margin.

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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