Letting promoters charge people to walk on The Strand has never made sense to me. Just because it’s been happening for years doesn’t make it legal. It’s apparent that large events are no longer needed or wanted downtown.

Mike Dean has argued that collecting money from everybody entering downtown helps restaurants and businesses. I’ve heard the opposite by many. Families and locals stay away from downtown during Mardi Gras because of the fees.

The Strand turns into a loud and raunchy place during Mardi Gras and the motorcycle rally.

If an event needs heavy security, it certainly doesn’t belong near residents. Any event with concerts, motorcycles and booths are misplaced in any downtown. ArtWalk is a good event style for the downtown. It’s free and attracts families.

Galveston would be better off without the mayhem that promoters generate.

Accommodating promoters by throwing out all rules and ordinances is nonsensical.

Selling off public streets to promoters that drop their festivals into the middle of a business district is unique to Galveston. Other cities use fairgrounds, the dog track, parking lots and beaches away from businesses. Galveston’s image needs work with new ordinances. Selling out the downtown to promoters should end.

Edward Salazar

Houston

Locations

(11) comments

Allen Flores

The city manager has an opportunity in 2019 to rethink the endless contract renewals and public funding of promoter contracts within The Strand Historic District. The promoters have every right to hold festivals in Galveston, but The Strand Historic District is not the appropriate place. What would business owners on the Seawall say if the city issued 2-year contracts (for 10 years) to promoters to place fences and $22 admission gates around their restaurants and the Pleasure Pier for two weekends without their written consent? Nobody is calling for an end to Mardi Gras, but allowing another business charge the customers of all other businesses is against the law.

Matthew Dan

Loud events and music festivals could be placed in other areas. The rumbling from loud motorcycle engines all day can't be good for the old buildings or hearing of people. The event companies will move if they are held to the normal ordinances that are in place all year. New ways to promote Galveston's history to families is needed in the downtown.

Debbie Gremillion

Why is it that the promoter(s) of the motorcycle rally can put on an large event and not charge for admission, but the equally large Mardi Gras and Dickens events have to charge???

Gary Miller

I always thought Mardi Gras was a religious event. How do the cities avoid the seperation of church and state when the city spends thousands on promoting It.

Gary Scoggin

It’s been along time since I’ve seen anything religious connected with Mardi Gras.

Miceal O'Laochdha

I don't know about that Gary. Those folks who are observant of Ash Wednesday and Lent still see the Shrove Tuesday bacchanal as linked to its religious origin. The churches are full in New Orleans and Mobile on Ash Wednesday morning, and most of those worshipers are fresh off 2 weeks of steady partying. Many of them look it too. Considering the SRO crowd at Holy Rosary this past Ash Wednesday morning, this is still true in Galveston too.

Steve Fouga

"Selling off public streets to promoters that drop their festivals into the middle of a business district is unique to Galveston. Other cities use fairgrounds, the dog track, parking lots and beaches away from businesses."

I both agree and disagree. Fort Worth's "Main Street Arts Festival" is both held in a blocked off downtown area, and free. It's a wonderful event, and from what I've seen and contributed to, a boon to local merchants.

If it's not possible, I wonder how they do it... 🤔🤔🤔

Allen Flores

The policy of Dallas, Ft Worth, San Antonio, Houston, etc is that "written consent" is required by all business owners and residents. That's the only way its legal. Otherwise, those cities have their events in areas away from the businesses and residents.

Allen Flores

Business owners and residents give written consent through public notices and public hearings. It's in every city's event policy, including San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, etc.

Wayne Holt

If I'm not mistaken, that same policy of notice is also in the Lone Star Rally contract, as well as Clause 18 which states ALL City ordinances must be observed during the event. The fact that these requirements do not seem to be enforced is more than puzzling.

Why is it the Grand Opera House puts out wonderful flyers for events like Grandparents Day etc. to the affected area that describe the event, street closures and if I recall, alternative routes...all this for a pedestrian event that is quiet? Yet Lone Star, to my knowledge, does not follow that process while being able to flaunt noise ordinances as if they don't exist?

I understand wanting to have events downtown but if that is to continue, a better way must be found that doesn't 1) penalize our year 'round local businesses; 2) doesn't make it illegal for residents who provide the streets to access them when they want without paying a toll, and; 3) does NOT give a pass on ordinance enforcement for fear of losing those visitors who might better be described as pirates.

Come on, City...let's find a way forward that encourages sustainable, high quality tourist attractions without sacrificing quality of life and even law enforcement in the process. It's pastime to grow up into tourism adulthood on these issues.

Steve Fouga

There's also this:

Fort Worth's "Mayfest" is held in Trinity Park, away from businesses, and admission is charged. It's another wonderful event, like Main Street Arts Festival successful year after year.

I wonder how Fort Worth does that, conducting two large and successful festivals, year after year, that are well-attended by locals and tourists alike, that everyone seems to love.

Has anyone asked? 🤔🤔🤔

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