BRAZIL, Ind. (WTHI) - In a surprise development just this week, the popular 10-year tradition that is the Popcorn Festival of Clay County was scrapped for good according to the 19-person committee of volunteers that plans the event every fall.
On the festival website, organizers say "We regret to inform you that the Popcorn Festival has dissolved as of July 2013 due to complications beyond our control. "
News 10 found that committee president Evelyn Brown, through a three-page statement titled "The Facts," elaborated further especially on the committee's recent failed attempt to establish a beer and wine tent on Friday and Saturday evenings of the festival's four-day run.
In her printed statement, provided by Brown to News 10, Brown points out that festival committee members were requesting a state issued permit to sell alcohol, were more than willing to pay for additional security, and were mindful of the need to "respect the park" the festival has called home the last decade.
"We have been criticized, demonized, and crucified as a group," Brown writes, describing the social backlash from the community after the committee decided to pursue an adult beverage tent or two. "But after this fiasco, we feel enough is enough."
At its July 9 meeting, Brazil's parks and recreation board voted unanimously, 4-to-zero, to deny the festival committee's request, or application, for a permit to sell and serve alcohol at this fall's event, that was slated to run October 3, 4, 5, and 6.
"I voted no," said Ruth Ann Jeffries, president of the parks and rec board.
"I talked to about 105 people; 103 of those people were against it; two of them said they really didn't care because they didn't come to the Popcorn Festival anyway. And the third one said he didn't see a problem with it," Jeffries shared with News 10.
Asked about the seemingly sudden decision to scrap the festival entirely, Jeffries replied: "I am saddened by it because I do think that it was a nice thing for the community!"
Despite her detailed account of the committee's alcohol application process, Evelyn Brown was adamant on Wednesday afternoon that the festival's demise had nothing to do with the rejected effort to sell beer and wine. Additionally, Brown was adamant about not appearing on camera – deferring instead to her printed explanation.
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