Steve's Soapbox

Monday, September 19, 2005

Brownwood Reunion, Texas Festival Attendance #'s & Texas Economy Poll

Sunday September 18, 2005
Op Ed: Letters To The Editor

Reunion being priced out of reach for many

To the editor:
I would like to voice my and many people's opinion regarding the changes implemented to the Reunion Celebration this year.
First of all, like everything Brownwood has offered in the past, this looks to be becoming just another commercial venture.
Is it not enough to entice people into our community to patronize our businesses, restaurants, hotel/motels, and retail stores just to enjoy the boost to our local economy? Did the community not benefit from the first Reunion when most activities were free to the public?
Apparently not. Now we will see if we can price people out of wanting to, or being able to attend.
What is with the chairs in the main concert area costing $2? Is this real? After paying $30 for a ticket, I will not be supplied a seat? Can a person bring their own chairs? I see this question answered nowhere in the "Guest Information" on the Web site
I would like to know what some of the community-wide projects and events are that require us to overcharge visitors to Brownwood in this way.
I think that we are going to do OK this year, because the majority of people do not yet understand what is going to happen when they come, but I think on Sunday morning you will find a lot of negative opinions. Next year's participation will reflect this year's actions and so on until like most things in the past that start out as a positive and sincere idea in Brownwood, it will become unproductive due to the community's greed.
Now the board can say that the reasoning behind the "partitions around," and the "alcohol sales inside only" is for control and safety, but every single person I have talked to think it is for revenue. Are they all that out of touch with the community that they aren't aware that people think this?
Forgive me, but my first thought on safety due to glass containers is first, to inform the community not to have them, and second, to strategically supply more trash containers,
As far as control, where are the police? The constables? The county deputies? Can we not hire private citizens for security? Is it not illegal for minors to consume alcohol anytime, anywhere, or just at the Celebration, where we can now hide behind a partition and act like it isn't happening?
My Lord, what is going to happen at the Coliseum Diez y Seis celebration with no control or safety in place?
If you really want to do something about safety and control, ban alcohol all together and enforce it. Why not? I for one would rather enjoy the open, free entertainment I enjoyed when Pat Green was the featured artist, rather than listen to hypocrites with alcohol.
I have changed my mind. I will not participate in the Reunion Celebration this year. Enjoy my $30. You will not get anything more from me or my family this year.

Joe Hunt
Fair Numbers Down
Vendors lament smaller crowds

By Blanca Cantu / Reporter-News Staff Writer
September 18, 2005

As the 2005 West Texas Fair & Rodeo came to a close on Saturday, the conversation topic of choice was the drop in attendance compared to last year.
Saturday was the last day for fairgoers to enjoy funnel cakes, carnival rides and livestock at the fair, and some vendors were disappointed by the low turnout.
John Tombaugh, co-owner of Holiday Farms from Lampasas, has been coming to the fair for seven years. He said he's not sure if he'll be back next year.
He said the 12-hour days are rough, and business is down 15 to 25 percent. He has seen bigger crowds in the past - to the point where the aisles are too crowded to get through.
Thousands close Gregg County Fair

Sunday, September 18, 2005
Longview News Journal

Tens of thousands of people were expected amid a sea of sounds and aromas Saturday evening at the Gregg County Fair.
Fair manager Billy Clay said that attendance was slightly down from last year, but plenty of people still showed up during the fair's first four nights, and another 35,000 to 40,000 were expected Saturday.
"We haven't had any problems," Clay said. "We've had zero incidents since we started Tuesday night.
"We anticipated attendance to be a little down because of the economic impact of fuel and the hurricane and everything else, but it's been real peaceful, calm out here, and everybody's been behaving themselves."
Poll: Many Texans not happy with economy
By Tim Eaton / Scripps Howard Austin Bureau
September 19, 2005

AUSTIN - Job prospects are getting worse. There's greater dissatisfaction at work. People are less optimistic about their financial situation. And confidence in the economy remains low.
Those are the conclusions of many Texans in the most recent Scripps Howard Texas Poll.
Sixty percent of Texans rate the nation's economy as fair or poor, compared with 39 percent who say it is excellent or good.
Tuesday September 20, 2005
Op Ed: Letters To The Editor
Brownwood Bulletin

Fireworks scheduling was a fiasco

To the editor:
This was sent to Gary Allan's Fan Club Web site via the Internet:

Dear Mr. Allen:

Shame on you! The fireworks for the Brownwood Reunion (September 17) were scheduled for 9:40 p.m., and as a result of your ego, the fireworks were postponed until 1 a.m. The fireworks were scheduled for the community to enjoy. There were many children as well as elderly citizens, who were patiently waiting for the festivities to begin, and there they sat at 10:40 p.m., way beyond their bedtimes. My family and I asked a volunteer as to the time when the fireworks were to begin? I am glad we asked. We were told that the fireworks were now scheduled for 1 a.m., after your concert was over, because you had demanded it, despite numerous requests from the city to keep the events as planned. We have family here from New Orleans -- displaced due to Katrina, and we were all looking forward to this part of the celebration. It would have really lifted their spirits, as they, nor we could afford to see your concert. So I guess, the old adage, of "every party has a pooper that's why we invited you!" sadly holds true in this case. We hope and pray that you and your ego are not invited to next year's Reunion!

Gregory and Joanne Finney

Lake Brownwood

P.S.: We went today to see the alligator show. Cancelled. Due to the heat. How about buying some bags of ice, and placing them in the water? Too easy. Another big disappointment to a very lousy, mis-managed, poorly communicated "Reunion." We think this city should just stop at Year Five while they are behind!