The first issue I had was that the facts that led to this decision were not included in the article, thus creating a misunderstanding.
You will find downtown merchants and businesses to be very friendly and hospitable to local people as well as visitors. We love festivals and parades and heartily support the Noble Street Festival, Christmas activities and parade, and former Super Saturday activities along with many other events. I, along with most of the other merchants and businesses, not only encourage these events, we also host, work and sometimes financially subsidize these events. It is a way to promote our town and invite our customers and others to visit our downtown with no admission required.
Rumble on Noble is different, however. Not because the guests are not welcome, but because of the format. Not only are the streets closed, the sidewalks and front entrances are closed to the public making Noble Street a private venue. The only way to gain entrance is by paying $15 or negotiating with the gatekeeper and convincing him you are here to visit a business and not attend the event. This makes it a private party.
Once you enter the event, you are subjected to seeing less than family friendly entertainment such as pole dancing, which was part of last year’s activities. The reference made that the event “brings the wrong kind of people downtown” was an unfortunate comment, and I’m sure was not a judgment of individuals but of the adult nature of the event.
I have never had a negative opinion of or made a negative comment about the guests at this event. There is absolutely nothing wrong with adult-oriented events at a proper location. Don’t forget, another location has been offered to Rumble’s organizers.
The organizers request money ($5,000 last year) and thousands of dollars in city services, including public works and police support, to help fund a for-profit event. The argument is that the event is a boost to our local economy, and it probably is for Oxford as most guests eat and sleep in Oxford, which is good for our county. However, the Saturday event, though I am glad to hear benefits a few Noble Street businesses, produces overall sales that are down for the day. Most of the street vendors come from out of the area.
Ann Welch is a business owner in downtown Anniston.