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May 3, 2014

Council mulls Canal Fest deal

Tonawanda News — The City of Tonawanda Common Council will consider a two-year contract with Canal Fest Inc. at its Tuesday meeting, and the agreement specifies a 10 p.m. closing time for both the 2014 and 2015 events. 

“This is only the second time since 1994 that they were willing to consider a two-year contract,” Randy Fahs, a Canal Fest organizer, said Friday. 

Mayor Rick Davis said city officials wanted to discuss a two-year deal to provide stability to the event, but the council hasn’t yet passed the agreement.

“This way, we won’t have to rehash this every single year,” Davis, a Democrat, said. “After the amount of time that Canal Fest has been in the city, it’s about time we have a two-year contract so that everyone knows what to expect.” 

Davis also noted that both he and all the council members will still be serving next year, so a two-year contract won’t affect a different governing body’s ability to make its own decision regarding the event. 

Canal Fest Inc. President Larry Denef met with the council to discuss the contract for the weeklong event, set for July 13 through July 20. Denef said he is glad that the current deal specifies a two-year contract. 

“I am glad. Not that we won’t continue to talk, but there shouldn’t be any haggling so to speak. There are always things we can change, but the basics will remain the same,” he said.

Denef did note that the organizers of the event are still not pleased with the city’s decision to stay with the closing time of 10 p.m. — a change that was first made in 2012 when the council changed the shutdown time from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m on its side of the canal. The decision was based on a recommendation from the police chief, who hoped rowdiness and arrests would decrease as a result.

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