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I spent the better part of the last two weeks sequestered in my basement. I tasked myself with coming up with a new event that could be used to promote Ypsilanti as a destination. We have a cornucopia of events scheduled all summer from the Michigan Vintage Volkswagen Festival in May all the way to Fallapalooza in October. There just aren’t enough festivals in the late fall / winter or early spring. Sure, there’s the New Year’s Jubilee, but it’s the only one. We need more. They don’t have to be big like Michigan Elvisfest. They could be something as simple as having a cruise night downtown similar to the ones held in Depot Town each Thursday in summer. If Depot Town has the market cornered on classic cars and hot rods, why couldn’t Michigan Avenue corner the market on bad-ass motorcycles? It might give the people who are loyal to The Sidetrack a chance to spread their wings and start hanging out at TC’s Speakeasy one night a week instead.
Well it turns out I spent most of my time sequestered playing XBOX and didn’t get much accomplished on the festival front. It’s not all bad news, however. I did manage to capture all of the high scores on Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland. I chose to be the Iggy Van Zandt character. If you’ve never seen Dogtown and Z-Boys, you should rent it. In the game, Iggy is supposed to have skated with the Z-Boys, but it’s totally fabricated in order to futher the plot of the game. No wonder MEAP scores are so low in Michigan.
I didn’t have much time to think of a really good idea, so I just slapped something together, but it still has a lot of promise if put into the hands of the right person. It was pointed out to me that within a five block radius of my house there are at least nine people who homebrew. There is a homebrew club where I work. (This could possibly explain why our market share has been slipping, but it could also be why we’ve been taking all of the recent layoffs and firings in stride.) Ypsilanti also has a very strong brewing heritage. We used to have brewers such as L.Z. Foerster, the Hoch Brewing Company, the Liberty Brewing Company, and the Dawes Brewing Company. We still have the Ypsilanti Brewing Company. And soon we’ll have the Corner Brewery. Beer is in our blood here in Ypsilanti.
Ypsilanti should host a homebrew competition.
I know of one homebrew competition in Michigan — the one they have at the State Fair every year. It’s an untapped market. Ypsilanti could become the center of the Michigan beermaking universe.
I started making some calls. I even hired a graphic designer to start work on the posters. Once word got out that I was in the process of planning this thing, I got a call from someone telling me that the Ypsilanti City Council is poised to vote on a resolution that would effectively ban any new events from town.
My first thought was, “What am I going to do with 500 t-shirts?”
After downing a few of my own Hutchinson Hefe-Weisse, I began to stop hyper-ventilating. What could cause Council to consider such a short-sighted, anti-local business measure such as this?
It turns out the reason is the over-worked Ypsilanti Police Department. Due to budget constraints, they are stretched as thin as thin can be. It’s understandable that there is a lot of police overtime required for giant festivals such as the Heritage Festival or the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Festival, but why would the City punish smaller events like a downtown cruise night?
It still doesn’t make sense. So I decided to re-read the resolution. It turns out they don’t even mention the strain these types of events put on the YPD. It also turns out Council hasn’t even approached the Downtown or Depot Town DDAs let alone local business owners who benefit from these festivals. They’re governing in a vacuum again.
This income tax issue has just gotten too out of control. They want to cram this down our throats so badly they are going to punish us into adopting the policy. No more festivals is the first in a what promises to be a lot of punitive and needless cuts in services.
I suppose this wouldn’t be such a big deal, but with them proposing to cut the AATA bus subsidy, some people won’t even be able to leave town to attend festivals outside the city limits.
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