Pickerington Times-Sun

2014 Pickerington Violet Festival canceled

Problems with securing a new site and the necessary logistics and support services have prompted organizers to cancel the 2014 Violet Festival.

For the past 16 years, the Violet Festival has been the city’s signature event, bringing as many as 40,000 people to Victory Park and the adjacent Pickerington Local School District’s athletic fields for four days of music, games and food in late July.

The district’s athletic department has decided to improve those grounds thereby no longer permitting its use for festival activities.

In a prepared statement Violet Festival President Jason Heitmeyer said organizers worked with Pickerington School Board members to identify an alternate school location, but a viable solution could not be identified.

Festival organizers also worked with area leaders and city officials to try to find a suitable location to handle the associated traffic, parking, public safety and potential noise issues related to the festival.

The venue with the greatest potential was the 31-acre campus of Peace United Methodist Church, at 235 Diley Road N.W.

However, Pickerington City Manager Bill Vance and city officials made it clear from the outset the city’s administrative arm would not support the church location for the festival.

“The city manager cannot sign off on the utilization of resources for a private event on private property,” Vance said.

He said the city planned to enforce noise ordinances if there is a complaint about loud music.

Neighbors of the church site also expressed concerns about possible noise, traffic and safety problems.

Vance also said he can’t support an “ABC permit” which would allow a beer tent to operate on private property.

Heitmeyer said although planning and organizational efforts were heightened, organizers decided there was not enough time to adequately restructure the event to address those concerns.

He said festival officials appreciated the past partnership with the School District and thanked city officials for their longtime support and assistance in trying to make the 2014 event occur and their positive outlook for the future viability of the festival.