New festival coming to Weston

Planning is under way for Weston’s newest festival, tentatively planned to launch next spring.

Ben Holladay

Ben Holladay

A committee recently formed to create an event to kick off Weston’s summer events, theming the celebration around the community’s ties to Ben Holladay. Committee members spoke to the Weston board of aldermen last week, bouncing ideas for a festival date off members of the board.

Born in Kentucky in 1819, Holladay became known as the Stagecoach King for his ventures in transportation to the west coast. Holladay lived in Weston for a time and in 1840 opened a tavern and hotel as well as what would become McCormick Distilling Company.

Organizers said they envision a spring festival to bookend Applefest in October, but are having difficulties finding an open weekend in April or May.

The one-day event would ideally feature a parade of historical vehicles and stagecoaches, vendors, local food and re-enactors in period costumes. The board suggested containing the event to the downtown park to avoid road closures and conflicts with existing events. Previously suggested dates were already occupied by the Weston Moonshiners car club and the Weston community-wide garage sale.

Also at the meeting, the board briefly discussed the situation with the Weston Chamber of Commerce. Some business owners have recently spoken out against the chamber and have called for the recall of the city’s voter-approved tourism sales tax.

Alderman Mike Goentzel said he has been in touch with chamber leadership and believes the city’s contract for services with the chamber should be reviewed.

“I don’t want the chamber to go away,” he said. “I just want more transparency.”

He said he understands the chamber has contracted attorney Shane Bartee to review the contract.

Goentzel also suggested the city move to electronic meeting packets instead of wasting paper by printing out hundreds of pages per meeting. Previously, some mayors have preferred electronic meeting packets and some preferred paper, but no firm city policy was ever put into place. Goentzel also suggested purchasing tablets or laptops for individual elected officials to use while in office to give some continuity of projects an official may have worked on while in office.