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The Villages
Monday, September 20, 2021

Wildwood welcomes food truck festival but declines to donate $10,000

An outdoor festival with 30 to 40 food trucks and music is planned next spring by The Villages Rotary Club for Wildwood’s Millennium Park.

But Wildwood commissioners Monday night refused to grant a request for the city to co-sponsor the event because it would violate a policy adopted three years ago.

Randy Bayliss, the club’s past president, told commissioners he hopes the festival from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 2 will draw a large crowd and become an annual event that will be a club fundraising opportunity.

Club president Andrea Bonivich said a garden show and crafts also are planned along with booths for commercial vendors.

Bayliss asked commissioners to donate $10,000, which is about a quarter of the cost, to co-sponsor the festival. The amount would include fee waivers and staffing by police and recreation employees.

He said the 2018 city policy should not tie the hands of commissioners.

“You should not forfeit your right to endorse any project,” he said.

But Mayor Ed Wolf said said the policy was adopted because the city was receiving too many sponsorship proposals.

“We got inundated by requests,” he said. “As worthy as many of these are, we’re going to get a request someday that somebody’s not going to agree with.”

Commissioner Joe Elliott asked whether the city could find a compromise between the policy and support for the event.

City Manager Jason McHugh said the festival does not meet the policy’s co-sponsorship criteria and the requested donation is too high.

When Wolf asked for a motion to support or deny the request, commissioners were silent.

“I can’t get any support for it,” he told Bayliss.

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