City of Rochester Council Members: Oppose the proposed new street festival rules.
The Rochester Real Beer Expo is an annual event held on Gregory Street in the South Wedge neighborhood. It is a celebration of craft brewed beers and our area of the city. The event has gained a national reputation as a premier event of its kind and draws people to the City of Rochester from all over North America. City Hall is proposing to ban paid festivals from being held on City Streets, this would force the event to be moved to a location outside of the neighborhood if it is to continue. It is run by a non-profit business association (BASWA). It is organized by community-minded business leaders in our area as a way to fund projects in the South Wedge throughout the year including beautification projects like planters and banners as well as cultural events like free concerts, a holiday festival, and history events. We give our time for free and 100% of the monies raised go back into making the South Wedge better. 100%. We have taken the initiative to help our community rather than simply relying on handouts from City Hall. The costs of putting on the event are significant. We the local business owners take the risk without any personal financial reward. We accept that as our way of giving back. Unfortunately the event has no purpose if it can't generate funds. We have never received any complaints about the event from neighbors, police, the fire department or City Hall in regard to the event. We are conscious to keep access through the area open to anyone who might be passing through the festival area but is not attending and we run the whole event in a responsible way. We work with the businesses and a church in the festival area to ensure they are not negatively impacted by the event. Apparently this is a bad thing as City Hall wants to pass rules that would make it a non-viable event. The reality is that there is discontent in regard to another event in the city, the East End Festival that has been around for 23 years. We do not have any opinion good or bad regarding this event as we are not involved with it. It seems deeply unjust that the Rochester Real Beer Expo that does so much good for the City of Rochester can be destroyed as collateral damage from the politicking that is surrounding something completely separate. If you would like to support us in keeping the Rochester Real Beer Expo alive in the South Wedge please sign this petition so that we can present it to our local council members. Share it with your friends. Your opinions are powerful and probably the only chance that we have. Joe McBane and Chris Jones