Why aren't there any clowns at Largo's 2014 Touch-a-Truck Day?
Letter to the Editor
Published: October 24, 2013   |
Updated: October 24, 2013 at 10:58 AM
That's the question several Largo families will be asking this year following the City's annual Touch-a-Truck Day.
The Uptown Clown Alley of Florida was the local organization in Largo that 17 years ago entered into an agreement with elected city officials in which the Uptown Clown Alley would provide FREE clown entertainment to community families in return for use of the public facility for the day of the event.
Along with our contract we were allowed use of a meeting room free of charge for one night each month. To honor our commitment, we agreed to participate in several city-sponsored events....Easter Egg Hunt, parades, Holiday events etc.
The Uptown Clown Alley did not assign a monetary fee to any these activities. As a NON-PROFIT community-minded group, we felt it reasonable to share our many talents with the community in return for use of one room on one night each month of the year. We also felt obliged to offer free entertainment during Touch-a-Truck Day in return for use of the center's room located on site in Largo Central Park. That in a nut shell is the background.
However, things have changed so much so that the we can no longer afford to participate in city events. In the past we supplied our materials for the clown balloon artists and face painting artists. We have always invited clowns from all over the State of Florida to participate in activities. We have NEVER asked the City of Largo for reimbursement.
So, why aren't there any clowns? The answer unfortunately comes down to dollars and cents. We can't afford the city’s new policy. Largo's elected officials have now decided to charge our non-for-profit organization exorbitant fees for the use of the public facilities including a $1,600-a-day fee to use the meeting room at Largo Central Park. Along with this change in policy, the city's elected officials refuse to adequately compensate our services.
We have no choice but to move our special day that we now call Florida Clown Day to another more friendly community.
We’ve attempted to resolve these issues with city officials; however, our concerns have fallen on deaf ears with feelings of anger, sorrow and disappointment. With time, our feelings of anger will go away. However, the sorrow and disappointment will linger on for many years.
We provided many meaningful services to the city and enjoyed seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter of so many children and adults. We are disappointed that we will no longer be able to serve the many families in the community of Largo.
Dick Carmen – Business Manager for Upton Clown Alley
Jenny Naegele – Agent for Upton Clown Alley