We had a smörgåsbord of “firsts” in September: the first time we saw a husband bring his wife roses at a council meeting. Our first podcast interview with a knight (even though she claims she’s not a knight). And our first “Best Thing, Worst Thing” story that profiles a non-American city.
And hey! We finally marked our territory in one of the three states that City Council Chronicles had not visited: Montana. Now, it’s only Rhode Island and New Mexico that need to get with the program. Check out which states we did profile with our September Month in Review.
And if you haven’t seen the first country music video we’ve encountered that everybody is talking about (well, everybody who watches the Fayetteville, North Carolina city council meetings, that is), plug in your headphones and jam out here:
Trouble in paradise! Turmoil in the Land of Lincoln!
The pride and joy of McHenry–“Fiesta Days”–was in jeopardy, and Mayor Susan E. Low had summoned the only heroes who could save it.
“The next item on the agenda is a motion to approve the 69th annual Fiesta Days schedule, including the addition of Thursday, July 13,” she read.
That’s right–a sombrero-sized bombshell was just dropped on Fiesta Days: adding THURSDAY to the schedule.
“Thursday night is important to draw higher-quality amusements and better food vendors,” the jeans-clad Chamber of Commerce rep solemnly informed the council.
“Fiesta Days are looking to attract and serve millennials, the 21-36 group. I think this is what our Thursday night is gonna be geared towards–try to get some of the younger crowd out there.”
You hear that, millennials? Put down your smart phones and your mannequin challenges and go sample the local Illinois cuisine–which I’m assuming includes both sweet and popped corn?
A local pastor strode to the podium. “By having a Thursday night, we can make Sunday fully free,” he argued, being an expert on how to keep the Sabbath rockin’.
“I actually get to call myself a millennial by two days,” he chuckled. “As I ask them about the music selection at Fiesta Days, I typically get the answer of, ‘it’s fine, but it’s not MY music.'”
He paused for pastoral emphasis. “‘Not my music.’ We have to transition generations. Thursday night, we get to focus on millennials.”
Alderman Jeffrey Schaefer tapped his fingers together. “What type of entertainment were you thinking?”
I was wondering the same thing. As a millennial, I am into such popular musical acts as Neil Diamond, Willie Nelson, and Olivia Newton-John. But something tells me they aren’t in the Fiesta Days budget.
“We’re gonna try to keep it local and geared more towards that millennial group,” the Chamber man said evasively. “We’re not exactly sure.”
Alderman Schaefer motioned to approve the plan. Alderman Andrew Glab backed him up, gruffly muttering, “I’m glad to see us going a little more toward the family, uh, thing.”
But suddenly, Mayor Low slammed the brakes on the Fiesta Express. “I have no problem with the event,” she frowned, “but we spent a LOT of time deciding those times.”
Alderman Schaefer looked worried. “I was going to amend my motion to change the time to 10:30 for Thursday.”
The mayor looked relieved. “So your motion would be to allow the event, end it at 10:30?”
But immediately, Alderman Victor Santi jumped ship. “I’m not seconding that motion.”
Then the council went to DEFCON-3 as Alderman Geri Condon turned on her mic. “I personally support Thursday, closing at 10:30, keeping the beer sales and times, BUT I would support 50% reimbursement,” she demanded, referring to the condition that the Chamber of Commerce reimburse the city for all or part of its costs.
“The motion on the table I’m not gonna support,” Alderman Scott Curry viciously knifed. “I’m hoping we vote that down and then we can put one that has 50% in.”
The Titanic was going down. It was too late to bail!
The vote: 2-4 to kill the Schaefer motion. Alderman Curry leapt forward.
“10:30 on Thursday, alcohol times the same, 50% reimbursement,” he briskly rattled off.