JOHNSON CITY (WBNG) — At Tuesday night’s monthly Johnson City Village Board meeting, a handful of people from Johnson City and outside of it pushed for Johnson City Field Days to continue, but the village’s celebration committee, which runs the event, says it will remain canceled.
“The [Johnson City] board is not responsible for the field days, blame the celebration committee,” which Harry Lewis is apart of.
Lewis, former Johnson City Mayor and one of the organizers of Johnson City Field Days, said over the past five years the vandalism and fighting crowds have gone up, which is a reason why the event is not continuing.
“Its been getting worse and worse,” explained Lewis adding the event has become a liability. He told 12 News and the board during a public comment period on Tuesday that once families leave Field Days, the night crowds have become more chaotic and a safety issue not only for the event, but surrounding neighborhoods.
“The last five of six years its been really hitting us of course last year some tents have got slashed,” said Lewis.
Johnson City Mayor Greg Deemie told 12 News that the village would not cover costs, as he said it wouldn’t be a good use of taxpayer dollars.
Ralph Boone, of Barker, came to Tuesday’s meeting with the hopes the event can continue for local children’s enjoyment, just as he enjoyed it growing up. He said he has been going Johnson City Field Days since the 1970’s.
“It’s a memory that the younger generation need to see,” explained Boone. “[Kids] don’t have nothing in the area, but the Spiedie Fest and you got to pay to get in to it, this is an open free event for our low income families.”
Lewis said even if thousands of dollars were to cover the cost, the celebrations committee feels there’s too much liability of safety issues seen over the past few years, and doesn’t want to keep holding the event to leave room for unfortunate circumstances to occur.
Lewis said he would still help out if the event were picked up by a different organization, but says it’s a lot of work, especially getting vendors back, some who he said left due to lack of people available in certain organizations.
One man at Tuesday’s meeting brought up the idea to bring back outdoor concerts in the village, Mayor Deemie liked that idea.
Another woman at the meeting said there’s no difference in the concert or Johnson City Field Days, and feels the event should go on.
12 News asked Lewis, “Do you see this event being saved?” He replied, “Not by the celebrations committee, because we’ve made our decision and we’re going to stick with it.”