Who will run St. Paul Park Heritage Days?
Greg Langbehn is ready to lay the groundwork for this year's Heritage Days, St. Paul Park's popular summer festival. He says he's itching to begin meeting with committee members, calling vendors and cutting checks.
Except he's not alone: former longtime festival co-chair Jim Domeier is ready to start planning, too, and the pair have said they're not keen on partnering.
The two have submitted rival bids to run the 27th annual Heritage Days, to be held the third weekend of August. St. Paul Park City Council members will consider the proposals at a workshop next Monday.
City Administrator Kevin Walsh said it is his hope that the two groups can work together in putting on the event. The city cut its official ties with Heritage Days late last year because of liability and financial concerns.
Neither Domeier nor Langbehn, however, has expressed much willingness to work with one another.
"That's not going to happen," said Domeier, who operates the non-profit group Heritage Days Festival In., which oversees the Heritage Days Royalty program. Domeier led Heritage Days planning for nine years before Langbehn took over last year. He does not want the festival and the royalty program run separately.
"If the Heritage Days Festival, Inc., is going to run it, we're going to run it," Domeier said. "But we're not going to split it up like this or that."
St. Paul Park's new special events ordinance requires groups to submit detailed plans for any event that will require city assistance -- like police or public works help -- for review by city officials. City officials will review those plans Monday.
'We're just waiting'
The annual Heritage Days celebration brings thousands of people to downtown St. Paul Park's Broadway Avenue for events like the Heritage Days Parade, a mud volleyball tournament and a street dance. It's a boon, too, for bars serving thirsty revelers.
Both Domeier and Langbehn said they hope there's a resolution to the issue of who, exactly, is in charge of the festival so planning can begin in earnest.
"We're just waiting for the city to tell us" go ahead, Langbehn said.
Langbehn, who along with St. Paul Park businessman Willie Tennis, led the Heritage Days planning committee for the first time in 2010, said little or nothing would change from last year's event under his plan.
Langbehn says his group has filed the necessary paperwork to begin the process of earning non-profit status, a requirement the city set out when it turned over control of Heritage Days. But beyond that, not much planning has been done, he said.
"We haven't really done much; we haven't really had any meetings," Langbehn said. But, he added: "We're in good shape. We usually don't do anything until April or May."
Domeier says he is "kind of behind" where he would like to be in terms of planning. Nothing much would change under his plan, either, Domeier said.
"We normally got started on (planning the next) Heritage Days the week after," he said. "The grand marshal should be settled. Contracts should be signed."