Despite being forced out of the area that we have used for the past four years, in conjunction with the Galion Rotary’s Independence celebration, to make room for the Pickle Run vendors, dunk tank and bouncy castle in an “extremely muddy” area, we had a fantastic turn out for our 5th annual car and cycle show. There were 113 cars, trucks and cycles, which more than doubled the entries we had last year.
It is great that people want to bring events for the community to enjoy, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of an important fundraiser for a non-profit senior center in our town. This city seems to be geared toward the youth of the community and the seniors are just pushed to the side. It might be important to remember that these seniors do pay taxes to provide these things for the young people.
I am sure that there were many people upset that there was no parking in most of the park because we were moved to Heise Park lane and the parking lot by the pool for our fundraiser. We also had to put cars in the basketball court due to no more room.
There was absolutely no reason that we should have had to move our event, and were given five days’ notice that we were to be moved. The reason was that the area was extremely muddy. Our show is advertised “Rain or Shine.” It was never an issue in the past, and we had two of the four years where it rained. Granted, we had a lot of rain in June, but I personally walked that area the Tuesday before the show as a city worker was mowing the same area with the very large tractor mower. He was leaving no ruts in the grass and the ground that I was walking on was solid, not “extremely muddy”. Also the rain was very similar two years ago when they cancelled the fireworks and it rained until after the start of the event, but the show was still held in the grass area.
I received a letter from the mayor’s office containing a facility use agreement that stated that we would be on Heise Park Lane and the parking lot by the pool. We were not aware of a facility use agreement until the Tuesday before our show, which was drafted the week before that. Since the Galion Rotary was no longer doing an Independence celebration, just the fireworks, we probably should have asked some questions. We never had to sign anything like that in the past. I understand that this will now be required by the city to use their property, but it was handled very unprofessionally. The city was aware before the start of pickle run talks that we have the car and cycle show every year. We should have been made aware of this policy in March. We would have had no problem with it, but to wait until 5 days before our event is inexcusable.
I was told when discussions first began in March to revive the Pickle Run, that this would not affect our car show in any way. As time went on, we were told that there were going to vendors in the area where we were having our fundraiser. It was suggested that we shorten the hours of our fundraiser in order for the vendors to set up.
The Thursday before the show, I was told to contact the city about blocking off the spaces we would need for vehicles. We contacted the mayor’s office and were told that they would put barricades in the grass by the pool, if we could set them up. We were also told that the dumpsters in the parking lot that we would be using would be moved. I was told that the pool would not be open on Sunday, and on the Thursday before the show, I was told that the pool was open on Sunday and that on Saturday there was a teen dance at the pool until 9:00pm. That meant that we could not block off spaces until the dance was over.
We went through the park two times during the day on Saturday to see where the barricades were. There were none. Saturday evening my daughter and I got to the park at 9:00pm and there were still no barricades. We had to go to the center and get chairs, make 44 signs and buy some string so that we could block off the spaces for the next day’s car and cycle show. We were there two and a half hours that evening making this happen.
I really hope that the Pickle Run was a success, as this city needs more events like this, but I want everyone to understand that the Pickle Run committee did not help with our car and cycle show. They did post our flyer on Facebook, for which we are grateful, but having people say that they were helping us with the event is not true. It was all done by the senior center.
There are rumors that the Pickle Run committee will again move our event next year to another location. What is it going to take for a non-profit senior center to have a car and cycle show fundraiser without inconveniencing the city of Galion?