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Opinion

Resident questions city involvement in festivals

6/13/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

I have lived in Highland Square most of my life, on the same street since 1965. I have done my front and center at planning Highland Square Festivals for many years in the ’80s. It has always been a grass-roots event, with local music, local artists and local food vendors. We have rarely had full cooperation from the city, but we’ve always appreciated the assistance we got. Now I see the mayor has announced they will take over the festival from the Highland Square Neighborhood [Association], which has done a spectacular job in past years.

Why would they try to do that? Why must the administration insist on “taking over” a local favorite from the people that have made it a favorite? I can well remember when the mayor’s feelings for this area were not positive, even though he lived here. Now, apparently after seeing how successful the festival has become, he wants to get on the bandwagon. This should not be about politics.

Art in the Square is about our neighborhood. We do not want high fees for vendors, which must result in higher prices for their products, whether it be food, crafts or art. We do not want any more festivals with bands pretending to be other bands. Art in the Square loves our local musicians, and they love the festival. This is a great, neighborhood-friendly way to see and be seen, without any other agenda.

Highland Square is unique. Why not assist the Highland Square Neighborhood [Association], the group that works so hard to produce the festival, instead of loading the city down with another clone-fest? Let us show our originality, our love of our neighborhood and neighbors, and our independence.

Now the neighbor association is apparently being road-blocked in trying to present the Porchrokr Fest, a wonderful music festival on June 8, that we first saw in Tremont, an area much like Highland Square. It’s all on private property, so no city assistance was required.

Why can’t the city applaud this initiative? What is the real agenda here? Please help and support our efforts.

Sharon Lorentzen, Highland Square

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