By Daniel Riordan
PLYMOUTH — A single-issue coalition contends that it was banned from having a booth at the Blueberry Festival by outside influences.
The president of the Blueberry Festival board said it was simply that the booth wouldn’t fit in with what the festival is going for theme-wise.
Sue Dillon, president of the Central Time Coalition, sent a Letter to the Editor that appeared in Thursday’s Pilot News.
Dillon wrote “We are left to wonder whether pressure was brought upon the Festival Committee to revoke our permit.”
The coalition’s one and only issue is that it wants to see Indiana go to Central Time across the state.
Karen O’Neal, president of the Blueberry Festival board, said the assertion that the board was forced by an outside party to revoke the coalition’s booth is an incorrect one.
“We voted as a 15-member board and decided that we didn’t want to be involved with anything political or anything where people are asked to sign a petition,” said O’Neal.
Originally, the coalition was denied a request by the festival for a 10 x 10 booth. Two days later, Dillon said, it was reconsidered and they were allowed to have one
At that point, Dillon paid the $385 booth rental fee.
Last week, Dillon was informed that the booth would once again not be allowed at the festival and that her money would be refunded.
“There’s something going on up there and I don’t like it,” said Dillon from her home in Carmel. “I don’t blame the committee however.”
One of the coalitions’ biggest proponents and members is a local businessman.
Dave Kinney, who owns Tri-Way Drive In, Tri-Way Family Gold and Showland Cinemas, said he was taken aback by the decision but also didn’t place any blame on the committee.
Kinney said his motive of being involved in the coalition is because the state’s current time zone situation affects the bottom line of his businesses. But he also laid out concerns he and others had about children and school bus safety.
Kinney admitted that the group was going to try and collect signatures at the booth but they “weren’t going to be aggressive about it”.
Now that the board has made its decision, Kinney and the group are basically resigned to the fact that the only way they’ll be at this weekend’s festival, which starts today, is as patrons.
“I don’t feel like we have any recourse really,” said Kinney. “Maybe next time we should set up a freedom of speech booth.”