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Successful Buggy Days marred by last minute rerouting of parade

By Walter Geiger Buggy Days has always been about making memories and a snafu with this year’s parade route is a bad one that will linger long in local minds – particularly in the minds of those who lined Thomaston Street and the lawns of its graceful homes to see the processional. Those who awaited the 45th annual parade along Thomaston Street south of Houston Avenue never got to see the parade at all unless they hurried up the street to catch a glimpse. Abruptly, Thomaston Street was blocked off and the parade rerouted down Houston Street back to the staging area at Summers Field Park, leaving hundreds of parade goers in the lurch. Chief Craig Cooper pointed to numerous medical emergencies and traffic flow issues in the area of Holmes and Houston streets for the decision to cut the parade short. t were not able to observe the parade. We appreciate that you made plans for visitors and friends to share the parade with. Unfortunately, some things are just beyond our control. It is always the BPD’s duty to protect and serve our community in these circumstances. We hope you will understand the necessity for our actions. Again, I hope this gives some clarity of the parade and our sincere appreciation for each of you that were affected. We will make every effort in the future to prevent this from happening again,’ Cooper said in a statement. Chamber president Christopher Deraney noted the massive number of man hours and planning required to pull off Buggy Days and its sister event, BBQ & Blues. ’We love making it happen for our community and those who travel to be here. There will always be hiccups and missteps or, as we like to call them, opportunities to learn, grow and improve from the past. And, yes, sometimes even our parade can take a wrong turn. We appreciate the police, law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel who go above and beyond to ensure not only that our citizens and visitors enjoy our festivals but that everyone stays safe – even if that means they have to make a last-minute decision on an historic event as they did this year,’ Deraney said in a statement. The issue with the parade was by far the worst of only a few minor problems over the hot weekend. The Swingin’ Medallions drew 1100-1200 to Ritz Park Friday night, likely the largest crowd for any event ever held at the venue. Deraney said the chamber will likely use a Ticketmaster type online sales facilitator for concert tickets next year in order to have better analytics and promotion. He also noted he had many comments about this being the ‘˜nicest looking’ festival in awhile and the downtown vendors were happy with their sales. ’The feedback from the vendors so far has been very positive as have the comments from patrons. Many, many folks were impressed with the quality of what we brought in. That’s largely due to the fact we attended other festivals and recruited vendors with high-quality, handmade goods,’ Deraney said. A huge throng was also on hand for Saturday night’s Old Fashioned Games as hundreds of kids lined up to take part in the pig chase which had been targeted by animal rights activists. There was no visible protest at the rodeo arena venue however. The new carnival event was also hit and, as always, the fireworks closed the evening out with a bang.

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