Don’t let complaints spoil special events

Let me borrow a little wisdom from Abraham Lincoln. He once said “You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” The same thing applies when it comes to pleasing people.

No matter how hard someone or some group tries to create the perfect event, there is going to be at least one person who is unhappy.

Such was the case after Saturday’s Movie in the Park.

Although there have been no formal complaints presented to the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the free family event in Bicentennial Park, a few residents took to social media to voice their displeasure.

What I saw primarily concerned a few people who had a little too much to drink and were disrupting the movie. It got pretty ugly pretty fast — and I’m not referring to the people who had too much to drink.

The comments unfairly accused the Chamber of Commerce of encouraging inebriated folks to join in the family-friendly event by hosting the Wine Walk before the movie.

That simply is not the case. According to Jill Rowland-Lagan, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, the two events just happen to be held on the same date to avoid overtaxing volunteers. They already set aside a number of days out of their summer to support the chamber and she didn’t feel it was fair — or right — to ask for more of their time.

The only connection the two events have is that proceeds from the Wine Walk help underwrite the expenses of presenting the free movies in the park, she said. The chamber spends more than $1,000 to show the movies and doesn’t get anything in return, monetarily that is.

What the chamber does get is a good feeling knowing it is offering something people enjoy. According to Rowland-Lagan, when movies were offered in a different park last year and a modest fee was charged, only 40 to 60 people attended. When she found sponsors to help offset the costs, and they wanted to move it to the downtown area, she obliged. The approximately 1,000 percent increase in attendance shows it was a good move.

Although I didn’t actually witness what happened, I believe it is unfair to condemn an entire activity because one or two people let themselves get out of control.

That same night I happened to be at a similar event, an outdoor theater performance where patrons are encouraged to bring picnic dinners to enjoy before the show. There were many families there, with people of all ages ranging from toddlers to senior citizens. And I saw plenty of alcohol being consumed. Yet everyone left with a smile, and I didn’t hear any complaints.

Rowland-Lagan said only 10 completed entries from Wine Walk participants were turned in for the prize drawing at the park and she personally saw half of those people leave before the film started.

Those attending the Movies in the Park should not attend expecting the quiet normally experienced in a theater setting. People come to the park to be with other people. That means they will be interacting with each other.

True, some may be a little louder or more gregarious than others. That’s what happens when you get people together.

If you start banning activities, where does it stop? Rowland-Lagan said she has heard from those who want to stop people from smoking in the park because they don’t like secondhand smoke. And another mother called asking for dogs to be prohibited because her son was allergic. And yet another complaint came in because there were “screaming babies.”

She said she addresses issues that she has some control over. For instance, next month’s entries for prizes from the Wine Walk will be turned in at a business downtown instead of at the park.

She also spoke with one of the vendors who showed up (without being asked to be there by the chamber or paying any vendor fees) to make sure any generators are turned off when the movie starts.

Additionally, she is working to enhance the movies themselves, obtaining better projection equipment.

Community events such as Movies in the Park are what make Boulder City so special. It would be sad to see a few people’s bad behavior spoil the fun for everyone.

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