Venetian Festival leaves with mixed reviews, but another success under its belt. There is no doubt that parking revenues increased because of the popularity of the Venetian Festival. There’s more question about beach revenues, which are more influenced by weather than events. The weather was not that kind to this festival, not when it came to beach attendance anyway. The festival brings a ton of outsiders to the city and to the communities around the lake. What’s the effect on other city businesses and services? The police must be out in force, and they don’t charge the festival for those extra hours and services. The fire department has to be on hand, not only at the festival but out on the lake for the fireworks after. Then there’s the different community police and fire boat services on the water.
Do people come to the festival and buy stuff from local merchants? Not so much, according to local merchants. Even the restaurants complain that the people going to festival eat at the festival. Now, it is true that there are a number of charitable organizations running food booths at the festival, the Lions, the American Legion and even the Lakeland Animal Shelter. Those operations, as well as the Jaycees, return a lot to the community. Is it enough to justify what business the local merchants don’t get?
Classics Autos. There was a classic auto show at Crandall’s Restaurant in Hebron, Illinois. What in hell was that? Last Saturday some car owners had a car show in Hebron, Illinois. All these old white guys met there with their “seeming” classics. The cars in the hastily thrown together show were parked up and down and all around the restaurant, leaving parking for spectator’s non-existent (one could take great risk and park on Highway 120 passing nearby). Yes, the cars were cool, and each and every one was finished in a detail they never saw coming from the factory. Yes, there were refreshments and some food, but the atmosphere was kind of strange. The guys all gather in chairs to watch the people admire their cars. The cars all have “don’t touch” signs taped to them and spectators definitely get the feeling that those signs are not to be taken lightly. All in all, an interesting if a little vaguely cold car show. The American Legion car show held every year in Lake Geneva is a lot more “touchy-feely” and warm, but then the American Legion gets to serve pretty cheap, but pretty strong and great, alcoholic drinks.