Chamber cancels Sunday Depot Days
By By staff, Hartselle Enquirer
Plans for a two-day Depot Days festival have been cancelled after area ministers said they were concerned Sunday events would hamper church activities.
The Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce had originally planned to hold the festival portion of Depot Days activities Sept. 20-21, with Sunday’s activities, including a Guitar Hero and karaoke contest, beginning at 11 a.m. Area ministers, however, opposed the change and an emergency meeting was held last week between chamber and church representatives.
Susan Hines, chamber president, said she had heard concerns about Depot Days taking place on Sunday, but felt the extra day was needed to attract additional merchants.
“Economic reasons are behind the Chamber wanting to extend the festival into a second day,” Hines said. “Vendors who travel a long distance want to make the trip worth their efforts. Also it is hoped that better quality vendors would come if the event lasted two days. The chamber feels that it is an economic necessity for the festival to grow. We have looked at other festivals and many of them take place on Sundays also.”
Walter Blackmon of East Highland Baptist Church, said economic concerns couldn’t justify holding events on Sunday morning.
Blackmon said he also had concerns about traffic on the road.
“Hoy 36 is the only road leading to our church. If you block it how can my church members can attend Sunday services?” he asked.
Highway 26 has traditionally been closed during Depot Days activities. The chamber was seeking to close Highway 26 from Railroad Street to Corsbie Street from 4:30 a.m. Sept. 20 to until approximately 8 p.m. Sept. 21.
In the past, the city has closed Highway 36 without permission of the state. This year, however, the state had been contacted about the two-day plans and said it would not allow the extended closure.
The chamber had been planning to hold a tent worship service at 10 a.m. on Sunday. The congregation of World Outreach was moving its normal service to the tent and others would be welcome, Hines said. She also said the event was scheduled to end at 5 p.m., allowing people to attend Sunday night services.
That wasn’t enough, however, and chamber officials have opted to cancel the Sunday portion of the event. Saturday’s events will be extended until 9 p.m. to allow for more activities and vendor time.