Warrenton Mayor Jerry Dyer announced the city will no longer sponsor the longtime city celebration “Catch the Glow.”
Catch the Glow originated in 2001 after the city received a grant for Main Street improvements that included new streetlights. The Warrenton Downtown Association came up with an idea to celebrate the city’s new look with a festival that turned into an annual celebration held at the end of June each year.
In 2010, the city took over the reins as host of the celebration, but Dyer told WDA members he thought the celebration had become too large and too costly for the city to continue its sponsorship.
“It costs the city about $20,000,” he said, “and that doesn’t include (compensation) time for city employees.”
Dyer said the city has received complaints from business owners outside the downtown area who said they didn’t think it was fair for the city to focus on one specific area.
“They want to know if we do it for downtown, then why don’t we do something for them as well?” he said.
The Rev. Jason Emmerson, WDA president, said the festival has “run its course” and it was time to do something else.
Dyer and WDA members agreed that the celebration has gotten too large and sometimes out of hand.
“More fights are breaking out,” he said. “It’s time to step back and let someone else rethink it.”
WDA members still want to sponsor some sort of downtown festival, and they have discussed renaming the celebration, keeping the alcohol indoors and providing more activities for children.
“The time-frame is decent, but I think we should downsize it and get it back into family orientation,” Emmerson said. “Whatever we do, we need to do it small and do it well.”