Candy Dance too much for Genoa?

Candy Dance is beyond capacity and that's one of the reasons townspeople are seeking an ordinance to limit the number of events in the town that weekend.

The revision of the county events ordinance is before Douglas County commissioners on Thursday. It would allow applicants to seek an exclusive event permit that would preclude other events from happening around it.

Candy Dance volunteer and ordinance proponent Les Kynett said the town's issue is trying to manage trash, parking, police and fire safety for what amounts to 500 crafters in town for the annual September event.

"The real center of our problem is our ability to handle and manage 500 vendors," he said. "We have been up to that 300-350 mark and are almost at capacity. Having that many vendors strains us as far as fire, police and garbage."

Kynett said he had to seek help from Douglas Disposal to deal with the trash haul from the event.

"As far as the town, how much can we really manage?" he said. "It's like the fire code for a building, it says 250 is the maximum, we can only let 250 people in."

The conflict lies between the town and local businesses. The Candy Dance craft fair is about 35 years old and raises the lion's share of the town's budget by renting booth spaces.

Vendors for the town are juried. Several town business owners have said they can't do regular business on the weekend of Candy Dance and so sell booth space in competition with the town.

Antiques Plus owner Martha Williams operates the Peddler's Fair the same weekend as Candy Dance and has fought to keep her event. Williams said the town doesn't have the right to prevent her from doing business.

In addition to the ordinance, three permit requests are before the county on Thursday, including one for Candy Dance, Williams' Peddler's Fair and a third permit for Phil Stoll, who operates the Autumn Boutique at the White House on Genoa Lane.

East Fork Fire District Deputies Chiefs Bobby Wartgow and Steve Eisele wrote a letter to the county asking that the two private fairs work with the town or be denied.

"Despite appearances on these applications they are not 'stand-alone' events," the Jan. 23 letter said. "We would ask that all applications either be part of the comprehensive plan or be denied due to the impacts that they have on the town."

Wartgow said the event ties up resources in town.

"The town has been saddled over the past few years with the price of law enforcement and emergency medical services and the other businesses are profiting," Wartgow said Friday. "Our whole goal is to see the other businesses work with the town.

Wartgow said Candy Dance ties up at least one ambulance, because of the difficulty getting in and out of town during the event.

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