Traverse City Record-Eagle

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September 25, 2013

Forum: Open Space wouldn't be here without festivals

By George Nemetz

I recently found an article in The Record-Eagle about a man who wants to reserve the Open Space for a series of “Quiet Festivals.” I assumed I’d mistakenly started reading an article from The Onion News. Maybe space and time had collapsed and it was suddenly April 1st.

Surely this was a joke! Sadly, this man and his mission are real. The festivals held in downtown Traverse City are far from successful! Hardly any people show up, and the few that do never spend money here! If only the summer months were as lucrative as the months following Christmas! As my sarcastic ink dries my logical mind engages.

I manage a business downtown and I wish there were festivals every day. The business (read: money) that we receive from these events, and those that attend, is unmatched during any other time of year — combined.

Life becomes a chore for many during the summer months, and I get it. Daily conveniences are lessened when dealing with these terrorists (I mean tourists). It is stressful and emotionally draining to interact with these free-spending “enemies.” Long hours and low pay is hardly compensation for what the service industry deals with 24/7.

One thing I don’t complain about is the money tourists bring in. Without it, this town would be but a dream. We would be living with even worse roads. We wouldn’t have great restaurants. We wouldn’t be able to replace decrepit buildings with new ones. Our farms would die. Successful artists would starve and there would be no progression.

Thankfully our city leaders can see the bigger picture (I hope).

I used to complain about the garbage left behind. Aside from the rednecks (that must show up to anything using the word “festival”) I applaud how clean everything looks after millions show up and enjoy our bounty. Considering how many people are here during the summer it is quite noteworthy that our streets don’t resemble landfills.

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