by Ivan Foley
One of the Platte City aldermen who last week voted to keep the annual motorcycle rally in the 2008 city budget now says he will favor a change in festivals for next year.
Todd Sloan told The Landmark on Thursday that his support of the motorcycle rally was only temporary.
"I want to look at this again after this year's (rally) is over," he said.
Sloan said he didn't want to kill the '08 rally with the '07 rally just days away, feeling it would have put a damper on this year's event.
Sloan told The Landmark he would suggest the city keeping the $15,000 in the budget for a festival, but that he favors getting away from the motorcycle rally atmosphere. He favors a "new festival that's inclusive of the community and that is family-oriented.”
Sloan questioned how many local residents actually attend the rally geared to a motorcycle crowd.
"I think that I'm like a lot of Platte City people who came to the first one to see what it was all about, but haven't been back," he remarked.
"My thought is this (a motorcycle rally) isn't the best way to put the right foot forward. I'd like to see a more family-oriented festival that has the support of the public," Sloan added. "Nobody wants a HOG rally.”
He said he would like to see a group of people from the community work together to formulate ideas for a new event. The Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Association, everyday citizens and city officials should all be involved in the process, Sloan believes.
Ideas being tossed around by folks with whom Sloan has visited include the showing of movies on the side of the courthouse on weekend evenings.
"It would be family event and it would be kind of retro," Sloan said.
Another idea would be for the city's festival budget to go toward funding a series of Bluegrass or other free musical concert events downtown. He favors studying what some other communities are doing in the way of festivals and also getting plenty of input from Platte City residents.
"We should put out feelers and see what people get excited about," he added.
At a board of aldermen meeting last week, Sloan, Ron Stone and Marsha Clark voted to support the idea of keeping the End of the Trail rally in the '08 budget. Voting against were Aaron Jung, Kenneth Brown and Andy Stanton. Mayor Dave Brooks voted in favor to break the tie.
The city annually budgets around $15,000 for the rally, then tries to offset the cost with corporate donations and vendor fees. Financial figures provided to The Landmark last week by the city clerk indicate the city will come up about $5,000 to $8,000 short of covering all costs associated with the rally, including overtime pay for police and other city employees.
The topic is likely to come up again at a future board meeting.
This year's End of the Trail festival is scheduled for next week, Friday, Sept. 7 and Saturday, Sept. 8.