Many people quickly pressed the "like" button on Facebook when it came to Thursday's news that Frank Schmer, founder and organizer of the St. Louis Home Fires annual barbecue bash, had decided to keep the event in Wildwood for this fall.
"I was pleasantly surprised when Frank called me about his decision," said Wildwood Mayor Tim Woerther. "Now we can all move forward with supporting the event, and focus on the work ahead."
Woerther said the next step will be to get a contract approved.
Mike Gavosto, district vice president, Wildwood Y, said he believes the bash is a huge positive for the city. "The event builds credibility for Wildwood and draws people here. It's all about exploring Wildwood in a fun and safe environment."
Gavosto said he also has been involved with the Lions Club activities that support the event. "It was a shame that things had to go back and forth about the bash. At least we have settled something positively for 2011," he said.
Mikel Garrett, Wildwood resident and State Farm Insurance agent, said, "Wildwood needs a strong, diverse number of activities that will draw not only our citizens, but people from all over West County and the eastern Missouri region. The barbecue bash is exactly one of those activities."
At the Feb. 14 Wildwood city council meeting, Garrett asked council members if economic development could be separated from the city's Planning/Economic Development/Parks (PEP) committee. "Economic development will help make Wildwood a better place to live for everyone. It is only right that it receives that level of separate and positive attention," he said.
Schmer was so eager to progress regarding the bash, he stopped by Thursday night's Wildwood Business Association meeting to personally thank members from a business-to-business perspective.