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Changes for Caroling on the Square

10/29/2008

Word out of yesterday’s Downtown Warren Business Association meeting is that there will be changes to Caroling on the Square this year.

James Delasaro, Executive Director for Warren GROWS, announced to the DWBA members that changes are being proposed for the popular Caroling on the Square event held each year with local school choirs, Santa, horse drawn cart rides and the traditional lighting of the Christmas tree.

Business members were told of the plan to charge a “buck” for the carriage ride around “Historic Courthouse Square” and another dollar for having children’s picture taken with Santa in the Log Cabin.

These two parts of Caroling on the Square have in the past been free.

In the past, Caroling on the Square has been organized by WRAP and the DWBA but this year Warren GROWS has assumed the responsibility.

Dare To Dream disagrees with this move and it will definitely affect many who attend. DTD will keep you posted.

Also there’s a rumor that the Ice Skating Rink, 2nd year on the Square, will be charging an extra dollar making the cost $7 dollars.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. 10/30/2008 6:06 pm

    I am all for charging for things—Its a dollar. People line up for an hour to pay 10.00 for pictures with Santa at the mall. People pay 3.50 each for carriage rides around Whitehouse Fruit farm. Businesses downtown are tired of people coming down here for free stuff, and when things have no value, it brings in low class, bottom feeders who scare off and alienate legitimate citizens who might have a shopping agenda and might come back downtown to shop at the comic shop, shop at the vintage store or eat at the Blue Iris.

    As a business manager downtown, who interfaces daily with actual business owners (who are asked every year to give stuff away or sign up for coupon programs to sell stuff at a loss or at break even basis) who would, over the course of the next few years, like to attempt some sort of social engineering with the types of people downtown events bring into our area. And it is going to start with a small fee for some of the events being put on.

    It sounds elitist and classist and awful, but honestly, we feel that if someone doesn’t have a few dollars in their pockets to pay for things that are costing an organization money to provide, then these folks really aren’t needed downtown.
    We want and need people with money to come downtown. And if someone who expects totally free stuff year in and year out, is affected, then so be it.

    And remember, witnessing the tree lighting is still free. The face painting for the kids is still free. Listening to the choirs and bands is still free. Walking around and seeing the costumed characters is still free. Some businesses will still be giving out free cider and hot chocolate.

    And yes, far as I know, ice skating will be a bit more. The rink will be a bit longer, so maybe if one does the math, the price increase is justified. 🙂

  2. 10/31/2008 7:36 am

    Josh, I agree with you in part but it is Christmas and as I remember the “Season for giving.”

    My main concern is that it was stated, and I still need to track this down, that the main reason for charging was to keep the “undesirables” out.

    Now in my book, if that was stated, then it’s a “phrase” word to mean something else.

    I really hope that this wasn’t stated, for Warren to prosper, it needs both East side and West side.

  3. josh permalink
    10/31/2008 9:42 am

    I can assure you, that by undesirables, (if invoking sides of town is meant to bring race into it), I mean those people who come downtown with no money, no agenda outside of getting things for free. Race has nothing to do with it. Nothing! Race has not come into any conversation I’ve had, and I am very familiar with racist code speak (“How are ;the schools’ there?” “Is ‘crime’ out of control”)–And if I can speak as a liberal saying a cliche, on a personal level, I can tell you that some of our best and longest customers at the shop happen to be of the non-white persuasion. We welcome any and all with a shopping agenda and money in the pocket.

    And this is just me talking–I do not speak for Warren Grows or all downtown businesses, but I can tell you that people are tired of catering events for people with no money–Street fairs do nothing for downtown, hurt businesses, bring people who do not come into shops unless they want to get out of the rain or want to use the bathroom (And it is interesting to note that at each summer street fair this past summer, someone got up to the roof and dropped a lead pipe through the skylights of the building next to us–both fest weekends this happened! Twice!). Not to mention the fights that happen…And I won’t bring up the vandalism that happens in the parking deck during these events.If downtown, and my sole concern with Warren these days is downtown—I can care less about the industrial wastelands and the residential neighborhoods–If downtown is to survive and if there’s going to be anything there in ten years except for bail bondsmen and lawyer offices, events need to be programmed and tailored to weed out the element that is just looking for free stuff and is not appreciative enough to realize that it is for the grace of businesses and private organizations that events are put there–and that those elements should be supported either by patronage or the willingness or ability to pay ONE DOLLAR for something.

    On a side note, we had two hundred people downtown for the Halloween parade, where the street fills up with kids and families there for free candy–We were open, lights on, open sign on, regulars inside our store—-and not one family came into our store before or after the parade. Not one! I am seeing a pattern here and I want to change it somehow.

    We see a huge sea change in the folks who came downtown for the ice skating last year and for the Relay for Life the past two years–People come into the shops, they spend money, they buy things and they come back after the event ends, months and weeks later and they tell us they were here for __________ and they came back. The ice rink costs money and the Relay brings in a more professional group of people—and we would like to have events, and conform existing events to bring in those people—regardless of what side of town they’re from, where they’re from or (if I was correct in reading race into your response) the color of their skin–just people who expect to pay for something and have a proper agenda and aren’t just out for free crap.

    And if this small change of asking one dollar happens, it is because Warren Grows actually listened to their promotions committee and they actually listened to various downtown business people.

  4. 10/31/2008 10:56 am

    Josh, again well put but I’m afraid my friend that not everyone see things as you do and I worry about the motives, just trying to keep, as they say, things in perspective. We live in times that many try, even thrive, on creating conflict and devision among peoples.

    Race only enters into this if that’s what was meant when “undesirables” was used as a reason to increase cost.

    Thanks again for your comments and well thought out statement.

  5. 10/31/2008 11:11 am

    Well, thanks for the message and the thanks– But I really have to say that as far as I can tell, the only people causing the conflict and devision regarding this is the downtown business association. I might be wrong, but outside of one phone call from someone from WRAP, the only folks causing conflict are the DWBA folks…. I just don’t understand it, we’re the ones on the hook for extending hours, volunteering time and energy, donating items and product, asked to accept ‘coupons’ to sell stuff at a loss or break-even basis…. And the people upset about this change are the folks whom, two of the ones making the biggest stink, have no businesses downtown

    And again, race has nothing to do with it— Now, have these same people, upset over asking for a dollar for 2 services out of 8 or so (with the rest being free)—Get as angry or upset when the Italian fest started their ‘donation’ program, which, if you ever heard the same rumors I have, was instituted to keep out ‘undesirables’—And I saw this first hand target a black customer of mine a few years ago—And I and our neighbor stood outside and from our vantage point, sure didn’t see the same fest ‘door’ person at the corner asking for donations from any of the white folks strolling in two minutes later. But whatever, that is what it is and this is what it is.

    Unless a climate is created where things have value, and if things have value they must be paid for, and those who are able to pay for things or have the willingness or class to understand that these things aren’t free for the providers are not catered to at the expense of those who feel that things need to be free, downtown warren will continue its slide towards being a wasteland.

  6. 11/01/2008 11:12 am

    IF anyone else wants to come down and yell at me, I’ll be at the comic store until 5:PM.

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