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— Parks and Recreation Committee members agreed at Monday night’s meeting that they would be willing to hold Bulldog Days on Aug. 7, the day after the traditional date for the Decatur Barbecue.

The compromise could bring the committee and the Chamber of Commerce a step closer to combining the two events. Committee members are planning to attend the Dec. 7 Chamber meeting to present their new ideas.

The Barbecue has been held on the first Friday in August for more than 50 years, while Bulldog Days, now in its third year, has been held in October.

The committee briefly discussed moving the two festivals to Labor Day Weekend because the carnival would be available on that date, until Rick Tilly pointed out that he has already submitted a date of Aug. 7 for the car show to trade publication.

The committee agreed they would be willing to try, for one year, holding Bulldog Days on Aug. 7, the day after the traditional Barbecue date.

They proposed adding a poker run to the already-scheduled car show and adding attractions like hot air balloons and carnival rides and possibly extending the festival into Sunday.

At the October committee meeting Mayor Bill Montgomery said the carnival was booked in August around the Barbecue dates, but at Monday’s meeting he promised to call the carnival owners and see if they could send even a few rides to Decatur for the festivals.

Montgomery said the issue of how to divide profits from the two festivals was causing Chamber of Commerce members to hesitate about merging the events. He proposed letting the Chamber take 60 percent of the profits from the two days and the Parks and Recreation Committee taking 40 percent.

“We’re all here for Decatur. We want better for Decatur and things for people to do,” he said.

Another question that must be answered is how to handle the food vendors. The Decatur Barbecue - true to its namesake - has traditionally sold barbecued chicken dinners and allowed only non-profit groups to sell side and dessert items.

Bulldog Days has relied on private concession stands to feed festival goers. Tilly suggested branching out and cooking hot dogs during the Barbecue.

James Tucker and Tom Aman agreed that many children and some adults would rather eat hot dogs than chicken dinners.

Tilly and Montgomery also agreed that charging $1 or $2 for parking was another essential part tomaking the festivals profitable.

And if Chamber of Commerce members still object to combining the festivals, Tilly had a plan. More than once during the meeting, he jokingly pointed out that if Parks and Recreation Committee members all joined the Chamber of Commerce, they could sway the Chamber’s vote.

“I say we give our $10 and become members, then we could overwhelm them,” he said.

After much discussion of exactly what it takes to become a voting member, Tilly said in a more serious tone, that joining the Chamber would be a positive step. Both Tilly and Montgomery said they planned to join Chamber of Commerce.

News, Pages 1 on 12/02/2009

Print Headline: Barbecue, Bulldog Days merger possible

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