About two dozen residents of Arvada and the surrounding communities attended the Sept. 13 Arvada City Council meeting to voice their displeasure in the city's partial events permit denial which led …
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About two dozen residents of Arvada and the surrounding communities attended the Sept. 13 Arvada City Council meeting to voice their displeasure in the city's partial events permit denial which led to the cancellation of the 96th Arvada Harvest Festival.
The city announced on Aug. 19 that it was denying the carnival and midway components of the special events permit application. The city still approved the festival's application for the parade.
Jeff Cannon, a former Harvest Festival Executive Committee Chairman, said that he hoped to convey the historical importance of the Harvest Festival to Council and said that challenges lie ahead as the Committee tries to bring the Festival back next year.
“We want to tell them what the Harvest Festival means to everybody,” said Cannon. “We're hoping to share stories and relay how important 96 years of the Harvest Festival have been. We don't feel that it's going to be an easy thing to come back from, especially after being gone for two years."
The festival dates back to Oct. 1925 and has primarily been hosted by the Arvada Jaycees and the Arvada Junior Chamber Foundation with the support of the city. The festival was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We've weathered World War II, Polio and even COVID-19,” Cannon continued, “but two years in a row is going to be tough to come back from. We hope that City Council will say they want to continue the Harvest Festival.”
Festival organizers announced days later that without the carnival and midway, the event was no longer feasible for 2021 due to the carnival and midway supplying the main revenue streams for the Festival.
Arvada resident Connie Cridlebaugh said she's been going to the Harvest Festival her whole life and was disappointed in the event's cancellation this year.
“I've been going (to the Harvest Festival) since I was a little kid,” said Cridlebaugh. “It's something my whole family gets together and goes to. The parade and the festival are a tradition. We didn't have it last year and I was really looking forward to it this year. Things are different now.”
Others in attendance expressed frustration in the city's handling of the Harvest Festival's special events permit and general decision making regarding the direction of the city.
Dave Palm, an Arvada resident, said before the council meeting that he felt the city was moving away from a community-centric feel.
“We've got a mayor and (city) council that don't understand the concept of community,” said Palm. “Arvada has been a community in the past. What they've brought us is a city; a northwest LoDo.”
Carl Campenella, a member of the Harvest Festival Executive Committee, said that he felt that the city has been dishonest with the Committee.
“If the city had been honest with us, a lot of this hassle would have been gone; there wouldn't have been a loss of trust,” said Campanella. “I think we'll return, but I doubt it will be in Olde Town. I think they'll keep it out of Olde Town like they did this year.”
Harvest Festival Booth Director Matt Palm — Dave's son — said the Committee, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), lost money this year due to the cancellation.
“The Harvest Festival went in the hole this year,” said Matt. “At the time of the cancellation, we had about 30 vendors."
“It sucks,” said Dave Palm.
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