The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

August 14, 2009

Faire fight

Residents, trustees trade comments on vendor measure

TRUMBULL TOWNSHIP — Township residents and out-of-town vendors alike showed up at the Trumbull Township trustee meeting Thursday night to trade jousts on the controversial transient vendor resolution.

The resolution, passed three years ago but only recently enforced, charges transient vendors a $150 fee as well as limiting them to operating from May to October, between the hours of 10 am and 7 p.m.

The resolution could doom the Great Lakes Medieval Faire.

The turnout to discuss the resolution was exceptional, with about 100 people inside the fire hall and another 100 waiting outside in the parking lot. The exchange at the meeting was often heated, and a sheriff’s deputy had to step in several times to regain order.

Critics of the resolution say that enforcement of the resolution will effectively close down the faire and deprive the area of much-needed tourist dollars. Many also feel that the GLMF is being targeted unfairly.

“These are real people with real jobs. They are not ne'er-do-wells,” said Jeremy Young, who has spent 10 years working with the Faire.

One township resident, Tammy Clark, says that she feels ‘misrepresented’ by the trustees. “I live directly across from the Medieval Faire; I have no problems with them.”

Trustee Willis Clay countered, “Did you ever think that you're a minority?”

Trustee Chair Ron Tamburrino said the township has spent about $60,000 for litigation. This statement was met with gasps from those in attendance. “If (the issue) is resolved, then I'm confident that the township will recover every dime of the attorney's fees that we spent,” said Tamburrino.

Several vendors argued that they already have licenses from the state and that the $150 that the township is charging is exorbitant. Clay stated to one vendor, “If you think your argument is going to convince me, it isn't. The residents of this community are going to convince me in November. I'm up for re-election in November. If they want to vote me out, that's their prerogative, and I'll have gotten rid of some aggravation that I've had for years.”

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