L’burg Fall Fest Revived, But Some Will Be Charged For Rides, Entertainment
By Mike Perleberg
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Lawrenceburg Fall Fest is going to happen this year after all, but some festival-goers will have to pay to enjoy the entertainment and activities.
Last month, a majority of Lawrenceburg City Council declined to pay claims needed to continue planning the September festival. Some council members had concerns over the size and cost of the festival. Others were displeased that the festival planning committee previously made up of volunteers was changed to mayoral appointments of mostly city employees.
It looked as though Fall Fest would not happen this coming September. The public backlash was heard loud and clear by council and the mayor’s office.
On Monday, city council and Mayor Dennis Carr agreed to compromise on many of the sticking points. Council unanimously voted to give the festival the green light with some changes from years past.
The vote came after some discussion on the cost of Fall Fest compared to the revenue it creates. The city has budgeted $350,000 for this year’s festival.
“Lawrenceburg residents cannot continue to pay for everybody from out of town to have a party,” said councilman Mike Lawrence. “I would like to see the festival downtown. I’m looking at the kids and safety issues.”
In years past, Fall Fest has allowed all attendees to use children’s rides and view concerts for free. That won’t be the case in 2014. Council approved a plan to charge Fall Fest visitors from outside the 47025 zip code to attend concerts or use rides. Ticket fees will be determined by the festival committee.
The 47025 zip extends beyond the city to Greendale, Hidden Valley, and portions of Bright. Residents within the zip code may be able to obtain wrist bands from the city to show their “free” status, although the details of handling that process will have to be worked out.
In order to charge some visitors, the festival needs to become fenced. Carr said the only way to adequately fence in the festival would be to hold it at the Lawrenceburg Fairgrounds, where fencing already exists. Councilwoman Jane Pope insisted that the festival could be fenced downtown so that visitors could be screened for either free or paid admission.
Temporary fencing would be needed to properly section off the festival area. City manager Mario Todd said the festival fencing cost $8,100 last year, when the area was open to access from most any direction.
Presumably, charging admission would result in lower festival attendance by out-of-towners. However, that may not be viewed as a bad thing.
“We need to look at this, because the crowds are getting big and very tight. We’ve put this thing on for years. I’ve been involved for decades,” Carr said. Last year’s festival attracted an estimated 50,000 visitors on one night.
After some discussion council voted unanimously to keep Fall Fest in downtown Lawrenceburg for 2014. Councilman Aaron Cook said he heard from 37 constituents who wanted the festival to remain downtown, as opposed to two who would like to see it relocated to the fairgrounds. The Lawrenceburg Speedway located there has a race scheduled that weekend, Cook pointed out.
Council also agreed to pay all Fall Fest-related claims going forward, preventing any further delays in planning.
“Time is of the essence,” said Kelly Will, city marketing director and Fall Fest committee member.
Will presented the council with a draft proposal stating that all festival committee meetings will be open to the public. The committee will also utilize sub-committees made up of volunteers to organize some aspects of the festival.
Cook had previously voiced displeasure that the volunteer committee known as the I Luv Lawrenceburg Committee was removed from festival planning by Carr.
Some members of council also voiced support for the idea of going way from big-name music acts and instead allowing local bands to be the featured entertainment. No definitive plans have been announced in that regard for the 2014 festival.
“At the end of the day, you’re never going to make it perfect for everybody,” said Lawrence.
“I agree,” Carr responded.
As I sat here reading these comments, I couldn't help but become angry at some of the remarks made by people on BOTH SIDES OF THIS DEBATE> To begin with, I agree with the statement that Lawrenceburg city officials (like so many politicians) have become a complete and utter joke. Clearly, it's something they can only blame themselves for. Their decisions have already caused such damage that it will be years, maybe even decades, for our city to recover (IF it can even be done entirely). This particular topic has caused an uproar among the residents of Lawrenceburg but it is NOT simply because we're "whining" about no longer getting to party for free and instead having to pay. As a Lawrenceburg resident, the decision makers here have never failed to dish out plenty of things for us to "whine" about... and I think that if we want to whine, we have earned the right to do so. After all, they have turned our hometown into a f**king joke. And as if that aint bad enough by itself, they were PAID a sizeable salary with the money provided by US: THE TAXPAYERS OF LAWRENCEBURG/DEARBORN COUNTY/STATE OF INDIANA. When you consider that the festival will be (and always has been) paid for with taxpayer dollars, I don't think it fair to say it's "free". Nor do I think it unfair for us to fight to keep it the way it has been thus far. Lawrenceburg decision makers have mis-handled our city's tax dollars to such a degree that they're under investigation by the feds. That just says it all. I guess the money spent on the festival is $350,000 each year which they can't put into their own pockets The festival activities being held free of charge was never as a courtesy to the citizens. The article I read clearly stated that this was brought on by "some discussion on the cost of Fall Fest compared to the revenue it creates". The event is and always has been about bringing revenue to the city of Lawrenceburg and it's local businesses. If this weren't the case, the festival would be held at the fairgrounds instead of the center of downtown Lawrenceburg. As for revenue, I feel that implementing the new rules which will require all persons living outside the 47025 zipcode to pay for all rides as well as for concerts attendance will have a profound negative impact on this year's revenue (as compared to that of years past) and it's likely that the impact will be even larger with next year's festival (if it is held in 2015 and if they continue to charge out-of-towners). They say they want to build up Downtown Lawrenceburg into a successful business district but how in the hell do they expect to accomplish that if they alienate any potential customers? It's just another ridiculous decision from the joke that is Lawrenceburg City Council. The problems within our city run so deep that I honestly think the only hope we could ever have of ending the damage brought on by corruption and move forward with positive results would be if we could somehow fire every single one of the city officials. Im talking judges, mayor, governor, trustee, and literally ALL of them. If your job is obtained through voters, you're fired. Of course, to fill those necessary positions we would have to hold an all new election. A complete overhaul that would result in all new (and hopefully not already corrupted) officials. I know this is something that could never happen and so I guess I have resigned myself to the notion that Lawrenceburg is what it is and that aint about to change (certainly not any time soon). As for Fall Fest, my children have always looked forward to the festival because it's not like other festivals. Kids see the rides and naturally they want to have fun and ride them all. I have only 2 children but the cost for even 2 children to ride at most festivals is so much that I typically avoid them all together. If we do attend, it is only to let the kids have a little fun riding and maybe play a game or two before we rush the kids back to the car and then home. I wouldn't even consider attending unless we had at least $80-$100 to spare and even then, 100 doesn't go far. Fall Fest is the only festival which we always attend because the kids can enjoy all the rides and we can have a bit of fun as well. We still spend money. For all the same reasons, I usually invite my brothers and sister to bring their families as well. They each have 4 children and a spouse. They do appreciate that the rides are free of charge but they always spend money as well. At least they did.
If all the whiners are concerned with paying for rides for their kids or entertainment for themselves, there is this thing called a personal budget. Here's how it works .... you put back a couple bucks each week. Between now and then, you should be able to save $20.00 - $30.00 and your kids will be able to ride plenty of rides.
If you still don't have enough, then maybe mom and dad should skip the beer tent and concert so YOUR kids can have fun instead.
I just moved to Lawrenceburg from a neighboring county and am sadly not surprised to hear all the whining about something that has been FREE is being taken away. I always thought it was an extremely UNSELFISH act by the city to put this festival on for FREE especially with the top quality entertainment they brought in, albeit at the expense of the taxpayers.
For all you complainers, name me one other festival or event of this caliber where its free? Can't do it can you?
Personally, I commend the city council for THIS DECISION. It's easy to govern when money is flowing in fast and easy. It's time the city starts cutting back on the "freebies" and wastes of taxpayer dollars of the past, so the city can continue to keep property taxes low, utilities low, maintaining and improving infrastructure and helping L'burg parents with affordable books for their kids.
If you can't afford a few bucks for an admission fee to a concert or rides for your kids, plan ahead and save up some cash, I'm sure it won't be that expensive for "out of town-ers".
For the record...If you charge one group you should charge everyone! That was not very smart either! This blows my mind...Just piss everyone off council!
This city's elected officials are a travesty! We need business in Lawrenceburg! Are you all stupid? I don't care about the fees, but as a Lawrenceburg taxpayer and voter I am appalled at the way council is doing business. I will not vote for ANY incumbent member of council! I have had it! Lawrenceburg will not thrive unless some astute business sense is used instead of the 'you scratch my back....' business. In the last decade the 'business' of Lawrenceburg's officials have been a debacle! They are too concerned about 'what is in it for me' instead of what is good for Lawrenceburg as a whole!
Lawrenceburg desperately needs officials that understand that we need to bring residents and 'out of towners' into Lawrenceburg! All I see downtown are offices...not businesses that tantalize people to come into town. Does the casino have to do all the work around here? I can't wait until the Event Center is done, but it can't do all the work alone. Make some smart decisions or find someone who will. Lawrenceburg voters need to seriously think about who they are voting into office.
I am sadden by the greed that once again has consumed the politicians that made promises to do what is best for their city. The reputation that they have earned a once great city is appalling and embarrassing. I am quite positive that the millions that have been generated did not come from the 47025 zip code. As someone whom has owned several businesses, I have never concerned myself that people come from a certain zip code. My family and I have appreciated every penny that EVERY consumer have patronized us with regardless where they reside. We have seen a pattern with Lawrenceburg politicians and yet there is confusion on why small businesses can't survive in downtown. Gee, is it really that hard to figure out. The good ole boy network has ruined "The Burg".
What the powers to be fail to realize is that their decisions will have a huge impact on the vendors that make Fall Fest happen, including the non-profits. Keep allowing your egos and poor business decisions to prevail and "outsiders" will show you real quick and in a hurry how their dollars can be spent everywhere else except in the 47025 zip code. Just talk to any Hollywood employee and they will tell you how much has changed and how much business that isn't there. In a fast evolving industry, casinos are popping up all over and those gaming dollars that your egos are built on will soon be gone. Then what Lawrenceburg??
So what that it has become a "tri-state" party. I didn't hear you complaining all these years as the dollars poured into the budgets from "tri-staters". I have always considered Fall Fest a sort of a thank you to the tri-state for allowing the casino to be such a revenue generator. Apparently I was mistaken.
I do not reside in the 47025 zip code but I do reside in Dearborn County. As someone whom has had to deal with all of the bad that came with the good of progress in this county, I am offended that because I live a few miles down the road that I am considered an outsider. As a popular vendor, I believe that I will have to give much thought before I step back into a town that forgets who puts food on their tables. I may just have to accept one of the many other offers I have been afforded. Furthermore, I will encourage family and friends to think twice before supporting Lawrenceburg in anything. Neighboring Aurora would appreciate our business I'm sure.
Just remember that a fool and his money are soon parted and your "local" Fall Fest may be a more intimate event than what you bargained for. Good Job, another Fail!!!
I grew up and graduated (1976) in Lawrenceburg. Lived in the 47025 zip code (Sunset Dr, Heck Dr, Ridge Ave, E. Center St, Elm St, and Interlochen Ln in Hidden Valley) for a total of 42 years. Now that I live in Ohio I am a pariah. I played Little League for my Dad (who still lives in Greendale) with Mario Todd and his late brother. I always enjoyed visiting the festival and talking to my friends and neighbors I grew up with. Now I will have to pay to attend? I bought by last three trucks from Ande/Lawrenceburg Chevrolet. I was planning on seeing what they had to offer again as I am buying another this year. I'll keep my money in Ohio and visit dealers there instead. What a joke the Lawrenceburg politicians have become at my work. We all wonder what they will argue about next.
Exactly why the hell does everyone think they deserve something for free? Besides just simply existing here what gives a person the right to demand that taxpayer money be spent on a party? The city has no business spending taxpayer money to have a party period. It has very little economic impact since there just a handful of businesses that could even benefit from the crowd. The farmer's fair has been going on for over 100 years and no one is screaming we want free everything or we're not coming. So now we come to a point where if your NOT going to irresponsibly spend city money on a party ........it becomes a political weapon.
STUPID TO CHARGE DEARBORN COUNTY RESIDENTS! Period! Should not charge Aurora,Lawrenceburg , Moores Hill, Bright, Manchester, OR hidden Valley ! Anyone is the county should be free !
So councilman Mike Lawrence doesn't appreciate out of towners. Note to self; Stop buying gas in Lawrenceburg. Stop shopping in Lawrenceburg. Stop going to Hollywood and spending CASH.
Do shop in Aurora or any other area. Do buy gas on the way home from work in Florence. Don't spend another dime in a community that is to narrow minded to see beyond their noses. I live on State Road 48. I'll never attend another Fallfest if I have to pay. I think Carr and Lawrence need to be removed.
So Lawrenceburg Fall Fest concerts will only be free for residents of 47025 and Bright and HVL. I think Farmers Fair in Aurora, the Bright Festival , Dillsboro Homecoming, Versailles Pumpkin Show and all the other local festivals should do the same, as it sounds like a wonderful business model (not). The richest small town in America charging for a local annual festival. I really enjoyed the end-of-summer celebration and felt the casino money was being properly used for that event. Frankly i think "The Burg" has paved and repaved every sidewalk and driveway in the city more than once, so borrowing a few dollars from that fund may be an easier solution that barricades, wristbands and forcing the event to be known as a "Lawrenceburg-only" event. I will still support the Thursday Music On The River which features local bands (even those outside 47025) . I willl support the vendors and businesses during those events, but as a lifelong resident of Dearborn County, I will be seeking my daily goods and services outside the 47025 zip code. Thank you Lawrenceburg for finally showing your true stripes.
Charging for anyone outside 470250....what a joke!!! What are you trying to do???? Why not just fence it off and charge admission for everyone. Think Swiss Wine Festival!!!
@SUBHATER 100% correct!
As I appreciate your opinion, I hope you aren't generalizing all of the comments as "complainers" wanting something for free. For some of us that have lived in this county all or most of our lives, our argument isn't with free or charged admission. It is about the politicking and the lack of respect for people outside of the 47025 zip code. I believe that there should be some type of admission for such great entertainment and festivities; however, my chief disagreement is the language and attitude at which Lawrenceburg Officials treat others outside of "their" area.
Having come from a neighboring county and not knowing your back story, I am not aware if you are familiar with the "good ole boy" network that is Lawrenceburg. Some of us are simply tired of money and power ruining good people. I personally am not an out-of-towner, however I encourage those who are to patronize our local businesses and bring their disposable income to our community. With that said, I simply do not wish to see anyone regardless of their zip code, treated as if they aren't as important as those that live inside the 47025 zip code. Furthermore, I don't face the challenges that these individuals face daily to run the city but what I do know is that some of these people are very good people that are not making decisions soundly or what they campaigned on but rather on egos and personal agendas.
I hope you have a wonderful day. God bless :)
For me, it isn't a matter of getting something for free. It is the principle that Lawrenceburg politicians continue to insult those who helped built that city to what it is today in regards to an economical status. You simply don't bite the hand that feeds you. I personally think that they should consult with The Lions Club to see how events should be ran. I'm simply against their egos and the unfairness in the way they conduct business. I have always believed that the way they blow through taxpayer money is ridiculous and yet nothing changes unless you are an "outsider". I appreciate your thoughts on this subject though. I think it is important to hear every thought process. Thanks. :)
@smartjw Here is probably the answer, With the rapid growth of the fall fest and all that state money for economic development coming the last thing Mike wants is a bunch of local people getting their hands on that money for the birth of their business. Because he wants all that money, so by removing the fall fest you no longer have a reason to ask for money to start a business that profits during fall fest which would = more money, more tax, for this town. Hey wait Mike Lawrence's towing company has been reaching out of town and state for revenue.Boycott him and if you are a AAA member when you call for help request another towing company. Here I also know of a family member trying to buy a building that belongs to City of Lawrenceburg to expand his/her business......Note Offering Money for this building....what do you think they do? ........They give it away to a buddy for a business that operates on charity and for 3 months of the years at most.....Hmmm Smart deal I think not.....back door deal.....YES!
@ladyrider06 i think anyone who lives in indiana should get in free not just lawrenceburg ind residents thats bull crap.
You are correct, the reference to "out of town-ers" was poorly spoken, written, explained, etc. Obviously, they need some lessons in communication.
Although I just moved to Lawrenceburg, I was a frequent visitor and have family and friends that have lived here, so I have heard, read and seen of some of the bonehead decisions being made by the current administration.
Unfortunately there is no cure for the "good ole boy network", backscratching and greed except the annual elections.
If the ENTIRE community is going to continue to thrive (with the gambling boat revenues on the decline) its time to tighten the belt and cut out/reduce the spending on things that aren't essential.
@funconcessions @Jarhead11 I also appreciate your point of view however I am very troubled by the thought that as a citizen of Dearborn County I owe the people of the tri-state a free festival and entertainment paid for by my tax dollars because they chose voluntarily to patronize a casino built in this county. People come to a casino for one of two reasons 1.) entertainment value or 2.) Greed. Either way I don't owe them anything. They either got entertained for their dollar or they assume the risk for their own greed.
@tisaa123 What I mean is...if they are going to charge out of lawrenceburg zipcode people (and it looks like that has already been decided....SAD!!) then they should just charge everyone. The Swiss Wine Festival has charged admission every since they moved it to the river front and NOT just to out of towners. Everyone pays if they want to go.
Very well stated and I agreed to a point. I don't find it much of a need as to owe anyone but rather to extend a community event to others whom have help support this area. I guess my frustrations are basically with the fools that are the politicians of the Burg. Although there is some validity to the mayor and councils concerns/issues as well, the trouble is how they keep insulting tri-staters. For me, this goes way beyond Fall Fest and has more to do with the egos and greed that have taken over the minds of once reasonable adults. I find it sad as to how money and power change people. Once again, thanks for good conversation!! :)