By Tiffani Ireland –
In what clearly came as a shock to the members of the Trenton Town Council at their regularly scheduled monthly meeting, Wed., Feb. 13, Council was informed that the Trenton Peach Festival’s future is in question. The announcement, which came from Mike Lipscomb who spoke on behalf of the Trenton Community Development Association, at first, seemed to be an appeal for a chairperson. Lipscomb explained to Council that since losing their chairperson for the festival, the association is no longer able to run the popular festival. “We [the association] can only do so much … without a chairperson, it’s not going to happen,” Lipscomb told the Council.
However, as suggestions toward such a person repeatedly met with opposition, with Lipscomb saying that it had to be the “right” person before the association would support them, the true reason for the association’s visit to the Council became apparent. Lipscomb said he came to the Council so that the Council would hear of the festival’s fate first from the association and to see if the town wanted to take over the running of the festival. “We don’t have the resources to support it,” he told the Council.
To this, Mayor Helen Summer responded that the town has never had any direct involvement with the festival. She reminded everyone that the festival was started by Trenton Community Development Association and that the town of Trenton has never had a hand in running it. She further stated that she did not feel the town could undertake such now.
As to the resources, Lipscomb explained that their were only a few people now active in the association and that they did not have the time or energy to devote to the festival’s undertaking. Council did ask what type of profit the festival produces. Lipscomb said he did not have those figures with him but did estimate the profits from the festival to be between $4,000 – $7,000. However, it was pointed out that what the festival means to the town and its identity could not be measured.
Council did offer several suggestions as to how the festival might be saved, but each was rejected or not warmly received. In what would seem an almost final nail in the festival’s coffin was the announcement by Lipscomb that the association had until Mar. 1 to decide the festival’s fate, and, that at this point, the festival would not happen.
The Council was extremely upset that the festival’s fate had not be brought to their attention sooner, especially when they were informed the association had been discussing the issue since Nov. Lipscomb finally outright said the association would not be putting on the festival this year. He said they would help with its running if someone or some other entity decided to take it over but that they would not run it. “All things come to an end – they evolve,” he told Council.
Mayor Summer continued to be hopeful for the festival’s future, believing that once the community becomes aware of its status, someone will step forward to see that it happens this year. A suggestion was even made to present the issue to the Trenton Fire Department to see if they would be interested in taking over the festival. Lipscomb was invited to the FD’s next meeting. Another suggestion was to hold a community wide meeting, to include all the community not just the association, to discuss the festival.
If it does continue, this year’s event would be the 43rd annual Peach Festival, making it one of the longest running festivals in South Carolina. The Council expressed their hope that the festival will be able to continue. “Let’s don’t’ give up,” Mayor Summer said.
In other business, Council was apprised by Administrator Harvey of three terms on the Trenton Planning Commission that are expiring in April. Each term is for 4 years, and while the Council could wait until April to fill these positions, Harvey said he would like to see it done at the March meeting. Council asked Mr. Harvey to contact the current holders of these positions to see if they are willing to continue to serve. The matter will again be addressed at Council’s March meeting.
Council went into executive session before adjourning. After their executive session, Council voted unanimously to solicit bids for the removal of asbestos at the former First Citizen’s Bank building. Council further voted unanimously to postpone the proposed project of converting the building into the new Town Hall. With no further business to address, Council adjourned.