Former Festival of the Bells Committee President Mike Bradford said he and four other committee members resigned Tuesday during a committee meeting.
Bradford said he had been a committee member since 1999 and had served as its president the past five years.
“It has a lot to do with family – children and grandchildren – and my regular work schedule has increased dramatically recently,” said Bradford, the executive director of Bell Gardens Place in Hillsboro. “But I also think it’s safe to say there’s been a shift in direction by certain committee members and I didn’t agree with that.”
Bradford said some committee members are trying to take the festival “in a more personal direction than for the committee and the community.”
Also resigning from the committee, according to Bradford, were Mary and Norman Fent and Debbie and Charlie Wallingford, who had all been on the committee for five-plus years.
Mary Fent was the committee vice president, Debbie Wallingford was the secretary, and Charlie Wallingford and Norman Fent were board members.
Rick Williams, who is in charge of festival entertainment and said he has been on the committee for about 30 years, said Tuesday’s meeting was one the committee holds each September to see where it stands financially. He said he understands Bradford’s decision, but disagreed with Bradford’s statement that some committee members are going in a different direction.
“We’re going to go on and it’s going to be good,” Williams said. “We are looking for some new people to join the committee.”
The various positions on the committee are not determined until a reorganizational meeting held each January, Williams said.
Bradford, meanwhile, said there are many things he will miss about serving on the committee. He said what he won’t miss is cleanup and trash collection after the festival.
“I will miss the committee members. They’re a great group of people and I’ve made a lot of friendships,” Bradford said. “I’ll miss the teamwork we had putting the festival on each year, and getting involved in each others’ lives. We were together a lot and you get to share the good and the bad.
“I want to thank all the committee members, the city of Hillsboro, the sponsors, the volunteers, and all the other community members who helped because we couldn’t have done it without them. I don’t want to point fingers or be the bad guy. I want to leave on good terms. But I’ve been on the committee for a while and I just thought the community needed to know.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.