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Jaycees may move festival site

Updated: February 11, 2014 2:03PM



HOBART — The Jaycees are looking to revamp their popular Jaycee Fest this summer, possibly cutting the number of days it runs in half, making it more family-friendly and moving it to the Rugby Field across from Festival Park.

The festival has been held in the parking lot of the Strack & Van Til grocery store on U.S. 6 over a 10- to 11-day period for a number of years.

Tentative plans are to hold the event June 26-29 this year, according to Tiffany Nobles, management vice president for the group.

“It’s now a long event. We’re all volunteers and we feel for the amount of energy we put into the festival, we could be providing a better festival for more people,” Nobles told the Park Board.

“We’re looking to re-invent the festival,” she said.

She said while the bands and beer garden will remain, they’re considering moving the festival closer to town and possibly including a midway.

They also may hold the festival under a large tent to eliminate losses they’ve experienced in the past due to rain-outs.

Park Board president Thomas Ehrhardt asked if there would be enough parking at the Rugby Field.

Parks Supt. John Mitchell said that shouldn’t be a problem, noting the department is going to tear down the trailer on the Rugby Field site that formerly housed the park department in April. Also, he said, the parking lot at Festival Park will be cleared after 8 p.m., when the Summer Market on the Lake closes, providing more parking.

Mitchell said the biggest possible problems would be lighting and electrical.

They can supply some electric power to the site, “but I’m not sure we have enough for a band,” Mitchell said.

The Park Board also gave the Jaycees permission to hold their 6th annual Mud Volleyball tournament at Rugby Field Aug. 2-3.

Nobles said the first year, about 20 teams took part; last year, there were 78 teams with a total of more than 1,000 people participating.

In other matters, the board approved the purchase of two new 4-wheel-drive Dodge pickup trucks at about $22,000 each.

The trucks were part of a package of 12 pickup trucks purchased from Thomas Dodge in Highland approved by the Board of Public Works last week. Eight are going to the police department.

Park Board members also discussed whose responsibility it is to clear the walks in front of downtown stores.

Member Charlotte Sills said store owners should be responsible for their properties, not the park district.

“There should be an ordinance where they could be fined if they don’t take care of it,” Sills said.

Ehrhardt said he’s not in favor of using public employees to do work for private businesses.

Mitchell said his department clears snow from some areas downtown, such as the public parking area, but some business owners believe it’s the city’s responsibility to clear their store fronts as well.

“It’s a joint responsibility. The city will do what it can,” he said.



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