Hillsboro City Council’s Street and Safety Committee and the Community Enhancement Committee will meet jointly on Tuesday to discuss the denial of an event permit for the 2018 Festival of the Bells.
The meeting will be 6 p.m. Tuesday at the firehouse at 204 N. East St. The meeting is open to the public.
Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Mel McKenzie said at the city council meeting this week that he was not issuing a permit for the 2018 festival to be held at its current location in the center of Hillsboro. He cited security concerns, traffic problems caused by shutting down the city’s main intersection, and complaints from uptown business owners.
The street committee is chaired by council member Justin Harsha, who also serves as vice president of the Festival of the Bells Committee, which is a separate non-profit corporation. Claudia Klein chairs the enhancement committee.
Harsha said McKenzie’s announcement was a surprise and would cause problems for festival planning, including a possible expense increase for talent booking.
McKenzie told The Times-Gazette, “By me notifying them 10 months in advance… I believe it’s pretty fair warning and opens up room for dialogue.” He added, “We’re perfectly willing to work with them if there’s another suitable location in the city to do it.”
While festival concerts draw impressive evening crowds, Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings said the sparse turnout on hand during the festival’s daytime hours don’t justify closing the uptown area for three full days over a holiday weekend. The festival is always held on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday on or near the Fourth of July.
The festival began in 1985.