Reactions continue Monday to Friday's news that Wildwood will not be host for the annual St. Louis Home Fires Barbecue Bash.
"When I heard about it, I was shocked," said David Coleman, branch manager, in Wildwood and president of the Wildwood Business Association.
Paul Farnsworth, general manager, , said the Bash perfectly coincided with the grand opening of his company's Wildwood location. "The attention and positive energy it brought our direction is still being felt," he said.
In fact, the theater staff signed up nearly 600 people for their e-newsletter at a table at the Bash, and a car show was held in front of their art deco building during the Bash weekend.
"Something has to be done to save the event," said John Rooney, developer of the community.
Rooney said anything that emphasizes developments occurring on the west end of town is definitely helpful. "The Bash was gaining traction, people were looking forward to it, and the awareness it brings that Wildwood has an industry is good," he said.
Weekend conversations among local business managers reflected that they were disheartened to discover that Bash organizer Frank Schmer had been "disparaged by council members who did not support city funds be partnered with this event."
Will Frank Schmer reconsider? Monday morning he said he will not make decisions about alternative locations for the event for a couple of weeks. "The response has been wonderful to wanting to keep the Bash in Wildwood, but there's just been so much divisiveness and politics in recent committee and council meetings, I just need to let the dust settle," he said.
"It's been exhausting. And the honest answer is: I don't know if I would reconsider. I just wish we weren't where we are."
Schmer said he keeps coming back to 'it's just a barbecue contest, so it shouldn't be causing all this trouble.'
Many people are wondering if Wildwood officials have any other similar relationships with other external organizations, such as the public-private partnership with Schmer. The answer is yes. A comparison, as verified with Joe Vujnich, Wildwood director of planning and parks, indicates a notable amount of money is supplied to other entities—both for-profit and non-profit—for management and assistance of various events.
EXAMPLES OF OTHER EVENTS FOR WHICH THE CITY OF WILDWOOD PAYS MANAGEMENT FEES TO EXTERNAL ENTITIES INCLUDES:12-Mile Frozen Feet Run in January to St. Louis-based Big River Running
$1,100 Route 66 5-K Run and 1-K Kids Run in January and November to the Running Center $600 Farmers' Market to Gaehle Company for managing the event from May to October $16,000 St. Louis-based Front Guard to set up gigantic, outdoor movie screen for free Wildwood movie nights $500 per movie St. Louis-based 62 Sports Group for games and bouncy house, etc. $5,000 Trailnet to administer the Tour de Wildwood bike race $7,500 Subsidizing pool passes for Wildwood residents to Ellisville, Ballwin and Chesterfield pools (wherein Wildwood residents show proof of residency at nearby municipalty's pools and pay that city's resident rate, while Wildwood reimburses the other municipalities and makes up the difference for the non-residency rate) $16,125 typically Bands at Wildwood Night concerts in Town Center Ranges from $1,000 to $3,800 each concert night