Festival Fridays
Festival Fridays in Jawbone Park, downtown Buckhannon. / My Buckhannon file photo

Parking may be restricted in Jawbone lot during Festival Fridays, so farmers, vendors can set up shop

BUCKHANNON – The Consolidated Public Works Board voted to restrict public parking in the Jawbone Park parking lot on Friday afternoons during Festival Fridays season so growers and vendors may set up more easily.

At their May 26 meeting, the City of Buckhannon’s Consolidated Board voted to ban parking on the park side of the parking lot beginning at 2 p.m. on Fridays throughout the Festival Fridays season.

Buckhannon mayor Robbie Skinner explained that no other parking, whether on-street or in a lot, will be affected.

“People can park as usual on the Pop’s Furniture side of the lot, but the Jawbone Park side will be restricted on each Friday afternoon to allow vendors to guarantee their post and set up for Festival Fridays, which begins at 5 p.m.,” Skinner said.

Skinner said the idea was brought up after Create Buckhannon saw the signs for the West Virginia Strawberry Festival parades restricting parking along the parade route.

“They have asked to use the parking signs and instead of saying ‘parade route’ it could say for ‘temporary event,’” Skinner said at the May 26 meeting. “Then, nobody would be able to park on the Jawbone Park side of the parking lot after like 2 p.m. on Friday afternoons, and vendors can get their places set up and they have a spot.”

Skinner said he saw no problem with the request because the vendors are paying to reserve a spot. Skinner was not certain what time Create Buckhannon wanted to start posting the signs, asking people not to park. He asked city recorder Randy Sanders to talk to Create Buckhannon to lay out a specific timeframe.

The board voted to approve the request but did not place a specific timeframe until Sanders could speak with Create Buckhannon.

In other Consolidated Public Works Board news, the city board also voted to adopt a new policy regarding the sound system at Jawbone Park.

The board had a policy drawn up stating only people with experience utilizing similar sound systems and equipment will be permitted to operate the system at Jawbone Park. The policy also states that individuals looking to use the equipment will have to gain permission from the city’s director of finance and administration Amberle Jenkins. 

“We had the issue back on Veterans Day where everything was up in the air and we couldn’t get usage of the sound equipment down there, so I just basically shouted and they can hear me because I have a loud voice,” Skinner said, “but some of the folks who were out there are older and have softer voices and they could not be heard.”

The board wants groups utilizing Jawbone Park to be permitted to use the sound system, but they also wish to ensure the person operating the equipment is experienced in that technical realm.

“In that particular ceremony, the mayor was speaking and just a from PR standpoint, it looks pretty junior league,” Sanders, the city recorder, said. “It looks pretty unprofessional for any officials or the leaders of the VFW to speak without a microphone.”

Sanders said the usually asks Rodney Irvin with Irvin and Toedt LLC and Channel 3 Buckhannon to operate the technology during official city events. Board member Pam Bucklew suggested a security deposit model in case someone damages the equipment. The board agreed a deposit or rental fee may beneficial but ultimately decided to table the addition of any fee or deposit until their next meeting in June. The rest of the policy was approved by the board.

The board also approved event requests for the Green Bean Weekend celebration at Riverwalk Trail Aug. 12-13.

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