Sheila Sturdefant of the Seymour Community Development Association (SCDA) came to last Thursday’s regular meeting of the Seymour Board of Aldermen seeking the city’s consent to use the Seymour South Park for its annual “Let Freedom Ring” celebration.
The SCDA sponsors Let Freedom Ring, which is Seymour’s Independence Day festival, which this year is set for Saturday, June 20.
Regarding the June celebration, Sturdefant received good news.
Better news than she expected.
City aldermen were unanimous in their opinion that the
SCDA be allowed to hold the event.
Sturdefant had asked the aldermen to allow for a limited celebration.
For example, she said there wouldn’t be a band playing and that those who watched the fireworks show would be asked to stay in their vehicles.
“I’ll give you my opinion, Sheila, and I’m only speaking for me,” South Ward Alderman Dan Wehmer said, addressing Sturdefant and two other officials from the SCDA, Ron and Wendy Pierson. “I think you should hold Let Freedom Ring without a single restriction.
“Bring in a band or bands like you’ve done in the past. Let people be outside to enjoy the free fireworks show. Let the food vendors come in. I think we need to move forward as a community, meaning that an outdoor celebration like this shouldn’t have restrictions.”
North Ward Alderman Jim Ashley agreed.
“If people are uncomfortable coming out to this event, then they don’t have to come,” he said. “But for those who want to come to an outdoor celebration, then your group should be able to put on your event without having people be forced to stay in their vehicles.”
“Just like Jim said, people don’t have to come,” Wehmer noted. “If they are uncomfortable getting food from a food truck, then they don’t have to eat it.
“But I don’t think the city should put a single restriction on the SCDA. I think people are wanting to get out and do things, especially outdoor things where common sense can define social distancing. Speaking for myself, I sure won’t vote to restrict a single thing.”
Ashley and the other two aldermen, North Ward Alderman William Pogue and South Ward Alderman Nadine Crisp, seemed to agree with Wehmer’s analysis.
“Does anyone here want to vote to restrict anything when it comes to this event?” Wehmer asked.
“I think it’s up to you and your group, Sheila, in terms of deciding what’s appropriate,” Ashley said.
The other aldermen agreed.
Pierson said the SCDA will not bring in bounce houses for children, as done in years past, because of COVID-19 concerns.
“That makes total sense, Ron,” Wehmer said. “But other than that, I can’t see anything else you do at Let Freedom Ring that shouldn’t be done this year.”
Sturdefant thanked the board for their attention.
“We just needed to know how you felt about it,” she said.
“Now we can make plans knowing how you feel.”
“I think people are simply wanting a return to normal,” Wehmer concluded. “It’s good that you’re going to hold this celebration. This virus has taken away a lot from everyone. I don’t want it to steal an event that celebrates our nation’s independence.”