Whaling City Festival Organizer: Parking Slip-Up Won’t Happen Again
It's human to make mistakes. To admit those mistakes shows you have the ability to learn, and are growing wiser. You take that, and then make the needed adjustments for the next time, and that's called learning from experience.
A caller into WBSM this morning complained he couldn't find handicapped parking at the Whaling City Festival.
"They always had about 10 spaces for handicapped parking starting at the corner of Rockdale and Court. But not this year!" the caller stated. "I walk with a cane, and I looked everywhere, up and down, but couldn't find a place to park."
Shortly afterwards, Mike Sylvia, President of the Whaling City Festival, called in to address the complaint. He said the special permit asking for permission to set up the handicapped parking never made it to the city officials, "and it should have been on me to follow up on that, and I apologize to that caller. We did have handicapped parking closer to the warming house, though."
The initial caller said he had asked an officer near the Rockdale Avenue and Court Street intersection if he knew where they put the special parking spaces, and the officer said he wasn't aware of a location. Sylvia said that might have been because he wasn't used to working the festival detail and was unfamiliar with where there was handicapped parking.
"This year was an odd year," Sylvia said. "New Bedford Police were stretched very thin, and we had a lot of Bristol County deputies with us, and there may have been a miscommunication as far as that's concerned. Again, that would be on me, and I apologize to the caller."
Sylvia assured it was the first and the last time something like that would happen. "Again, I'll see to it myself," he said.
Overall, Sylvia said the turnout for the event was strong and that there were long lines for everything, which he said was reminiscent of the crowds that used to attend "in the old days." He said the festival overall was "amazing, amazing, amazing." He did say, though, the one thing that will make a difference going forward is the ability to go back to closing the festival at its original time of 9 p.m.
"That plays a great role as far as the carnival we contract," Sylvia said. "Like anything else, if they make money, we make money, and we can do more around the community with that money."
Sylvia had applied to have the festival's regular hours this year, which was approved by the park board, but the Board of Health opted to limit the hours and force a 6 p.m. closing time. However, that decision was reversed just a few weeks before the event.