Mr. Bradley, come enjoy yourself at the BBQ

Published 10:23 am Monday, June 27, 2011

Mr. Bradley, come enjoy  yourself at the BBQ

To the Editor:
How unfortunate Mr. Bradley’s letter to the editor railing against the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival was published in the same edition that showcases the festival to all our visitors. It is full of such bitterness I hope none of the good folks that came to enjoy the event felt unwelcome or that their money and patronage are not greatly appreciated.

Mr. Bradley seems to dismiss all the positive aspects the festival brings to the community expressed by Mrs. Britton’s response to his last anti-BBQ letter to the editor.

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I have no idea what Mr. Bradley means by “growth of local government” so I cannot respond to it. However, regarding his other opinions, yes alcohol is available for sale by the festival through a lawfully requested permit process. If Mr. Bradley would like to buy beer at Harmon Field and drink it by the Pacolet year ‘round, he may go through the process to legalize the sale and consumption of alcohol there. I’m sure he’d have a fair share of supporters.

If the members of the Presbyterian Church want access to the church for any reason at all, their office can and has requested “Resident” parking passes that let them come and go on the road as much as they would like all weekend long for free. The festival places no restrictions at all on their activities.

There are no hidden costs regarding the N.C. Highway Patrol, Harmon Field staff or other professionals – the festival pays for their time and over time for that matter; it does not come out of taxpayers’ pockets. The festival pays directly for waste management, recycling, electricity and other costs, too.

As to plans for countywide emergencies during the festival, I suggest Mr. Bradley share his concerns with Tryon Fire Chief Joey Davis or Tryon Police Chief Jeff Arrowood to learn all about the safety and emergency and contingency plans required by FEMA and others that the festival has to support.

If Mr. Bradley was a regular reader of this wonderful little newspaper of ours, he’d know where the money from the festival goes. It helps defray the operating cost of the chamber of commerce, making it the envy of every other chamber in this region; this festival is the reason membership costs are one of the lowest in the state.

Yet more importantly, it is the sole source of funds for the Chamber Community Foundation that funnels thousands of dollars each year into worthy organizations and projects throughout the county.

Mr. Bradley tries to paint some kind of nefarious picture, but it sounds like a bunch of sour grapes to me. He asks if we can afford the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival for years to come. Well, I do not know who “we” is but if he cannot afford it, I hereby offer to buy Mr. Bradley an admission ticket to enjoy the good people, good food, good music and a fun time with everyone’s safety and comfort in mind at the festival next year.

–– Nadine Naujoks