Winter Park Town Council votes not to invite veterans rally back to town
September 11, 2008
The “Salute to American Veterans Rally” is not being invited back to Winter Park next year.
In a vote at a special meeting on Tuesday, Winter Park Town Council members voted 5-1 against holding the rally in 2009. Mayor Jim Myers, the only veteran on the council, cast the dissenting vote.
According to Town Clerk Patti Garcia, Myers since asked that the issue be placed back on the agenda for the Town Council’s meeting on Tuesday morning, Sept. 16.
Garcia said Myers was “uncomfortable that a decision of that magnitude had been made in a special meeting.”
In a telephone interview, Jim Wear, the Salute to American Veterans Rally’s organizer and fundraiser, said he was first informed of the council’s decision in an e-mail from Fraser-Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Director Catherine Ross on Tuesday afternoon. That e-mail read: “The Winter Park Town Council met this morning in a special meeting. One agenda item covered was a review of the Chamber of Commerce 2008 events and planning for 2009 events. The Council voted not to invite Pro Promotions back to produce the Salute to American Veterans Rally in Winter Park. The Council has directed us to look for ways to continue to honor and pay tribute to our Veterans in our event schedule.”
Wear said his organization was “confused and disappointed” by the unexpected decision.
“The big question is why we’re not being invited back, but that’s not been disclosed,” he said. “But if that’s the decision, we’d like to thank the community of Fraser and Winter Park and let them know that we really appreciate the hospitality that they have shown us for the past two years. We’re sorry that it’s apparently ending.”
This year’s American Veterans Rally was scheduled to be held the weekend of Aug. 15 to 17 in Fraser and Winter Park, but an unseasonable snowstorm hit the area, which forced the event to be foreshortened. This was the second year the rally was held in the Fraser Valley.
Some of the most notable features of the rally include the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall and a mainstreet military parade in downtown Winter Park featuring marching units and hundreds of veterans on motorcycles.
The Salute to American Veterans Rally was previously held for 14 years in Cripple Creek before moving to the Fraser Valley in 2007.