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.
Noise pollution can be an issue, but I lived downtown myself. I say deal with it. Ordinances are in place to ensure the noise is reduced during late-night hours. You live downtown, not behind a sound barrier. In less than a 10 minute drive a person can find peace from the madness. This is hardly a sacrifice.
In a few months the holiday season will be over and the reality of small business sets in. As profits made from tourists and part-timers disappear, anyone with a sane mind would hope for just a few more festivals. It must be nice to enjoy all this area has to offer without having to worry about anything but temporary population growth. If you want “quiet,” please first consider the consequences. The Open Space that you so badly want to “protect” wouldn’t exist without festivals.
I have an extra ticket to the next event. Let me know when you’d like to join civilization and we can experience life together.
About the author: George Nemetz is manager of Mahoney’s Spirits & Edibles, 542 W. Front St. He worked 15 years at Maxbauer’s Market at various jobs, including manager/sausage maker. He lived in Traverse City for 30 years and currently lives in Lake Ann.
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