A recent hot-button issue simmering in recent weeks has been which vendors are allowed to operate in East Park during Band Fest weekend in Mason City. Some say not enough local vendors are allowed to set up in East Park during Band Fest weekend. Above: Max Weaver explains to the park board how a contract between the Chamber of Commerce and an out-of-state vendor organizer should not keep local vendors out of the park, as Chamber Director Robin Anderson looks on. With video.|A recent hot-button issue simmering in recent weeks has been what vendors are allowed to operate in East Park during Band Fest weekend in Mason City. The event is operated by the Mason City Chamber of Commerce.
Some say not enough local vendors are allowed to set up in East Park during Band Fest weekend. Some local vendors say they want in, but they would have to be ok’d by a vendor organizer hired by the Chamber of Commerce (All Star Catering out of La Crosse, Wisconsin). That organizer chooses and then manages all the details that go along with the food vendors throughout the event.
Troy Levenhagen, owner of the Suzie Q Cafe in Mason City, would like to be a vendor in East Park during Band Fest. He says he is having trouble completing the required paperwork and getting it to the Chamber Director Robin Anderson. “Would there be room enough for just three more vendors?” he asked the board.
Park board member Ray Shimak said that “there is an issue here. I as an elected official have consulted with our city attorney. And he says it’s not a matter of what you have in writing, it is how the park board has perceived this in the past.” In recent past years, the park board has not allowed other for-profit vendors in the park other than those chosen by All Star.
Park board member Monte Applegate told Anderson during the meeting that “I want to make sure these folks have a very fair shot at getting in there, if you start this communication I want to make sure there is follow through. A fair shake, that’s what I want. For this year.” Anderson claims she will discuss the matter with All Star and see if Levenhagen could get ok’d to be a vendor at this years event.
City Council member Max Weaver told the park board “You’ve lost your way. You met one on one over at the Chamber of Commerce.” Weaver says there is not a contract between the park board and anyone (Chamber of Commerce or All Star Catering) that would stop the board from allowing anyone they choose to be a vendor in East Park during Band Fest weekend. “We’re having some issues, we need to stand by our own local vendors.”
Weaver also claimed there was a threat of a lawsuit against the city a month ago if local vendors were allowed to enter East Park during Band Fest weekend. Exactly who would sue the city wasn’t immediately made clear. That threat, however, seems to be the sticking point for the park board on simply giving the go ahead to Levenhagen, or any other vendor for that matter, on setting up as a vendor for the event.
Watch the discussion about vendors in East Park:
Park board members Craig Binnebose, Ray Shimak and Monte Appelgate take part in the discussion: