Pumpkin Festival planners propose pancake kick-off

Planning for Millville’s Great Pumpkin Festival is under way, according to planning committee member Kami Banks. The festival is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a rain date of Oct. 2.

Banks said during a July 12 council workshop that the format will be the same as last year, but they have decided to add a pumpkin pancake breakfast to start the event, at 7:30 a.m. She also said they wanted to find a local non-profit – for example, the Indian River Band Boosters – to host the event and receive the proceeds from the breakfast. Also new this year will be crafters’ table space for $25 per space. Sponsorship information and applications for crafters will go out this week, she said.

“So, it wouldn’t offset the profit/loss of the pumpkin festival?” Councilwoman Joan Bennett asked, referencing that the festival hadn’t broken even in its first two years. “I applaud the effort, but my momentarily concern is of benefiting one non-profit – the others might say, ‘What about me?’ A momentarily caution light is going off in my head,” she added, saying she didn’t want to set a precedent.

Councilman Robert Gordon asked when the committee would need an answer from council “set in stone,” and Banks said they wanted to print flyers next month.

The council continued to discuss the event, including the breakfast element, and Bennett again asked about it.

“I have to get this through my head. Loss, loss,” she said of the past two years, “then a new event with proceeds going back to a non-profit and not to offset the event?” she asked. “Maybe I’m tired or something.”

“It actually will,” interjected Town Administrator Debbie Botchie, “because it is going to bring it more people.” She pointed out that the band boosters and their families and relatives would be more apt to attend the festival if they had a part in it.

Banks said an even better example of bringing in more revenue than in years past would be charging crafters for tables.

Also on July 12, resident Richard Showbridge asked if Botchie could talk with Mediacom representatives at their ongoing franchise discussions about a service interruption he – as well as many other local customers – had experienced over the weekend. He said he planned to write a letter to the FCC and ask for a credit but also wanted to bring it to the town’s attention.

Showbridge also asked about curbside recycling.

“I used to get it through the town,” he said, noting that he hadn’t yet received his new bin from Blue Hen, which provides his trash service, though he had asked for one in April.

He was under the impression that the town had to ban recycling, but Botchie explained that the town had stopped providing curbside recycling because all trash haulers in Delaware were mandated by the State to offer curbside recycling to their customers by Sept. 15.

“We stopped because your trash company will charge you come Sept. 15, whether you recycle or not,” she said.

“It’s just annoying,” said Showbridge, saying he has recycled since the 1980s.

Mayor Gerry Hocker said that, in talking with Blue Hen, he had heard that they did not want to force recycling on anyone earlier than they had to, by bringing bins early and charging customers.

“I would’ve preferred they do that,” Showbridge replied.

Hocker said he talks with Blue Hen representatives regularly and would ask, for Showbridge, about bins specifically for Millville by the Sea.

Tuesday, July 26, is the next town council workshop.