Almost 2 dozen Guilford events OK’d for Green

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
Feb. 20, 2008

GUILFORD — Nearly two dozen town events got the approval to use the Guilford Green this year at the Board of Selectmen’s regular meeting Tuesday morning.

But all of the four selectmen present said they have reservations about use of the Green and will continue to monitor the impact the events have on the town center.

The board had postponed decisions on this year’s events — including annual attractions like the Craft Expo, Shakespeare on the Shoreline and the Little Folks Fair — until an ad hoc committee reviewing use of the Green finished its work.

That committee recommended that the large-scale events continue on the Green, but each group should be required to have a site coordinator and put up a security deposit to cover any damage, among other recommendations.

Selectman Joseph Mazza said that he has “gone back and forth” on the question of whether to allow multi-day events on the Green.

“If these activities on the Green cause a lot of damage, then we need to review them — they should be reviewed on a year-by-year basis,” Mazza said. “I’m willing to give it another try, but with the understanding that these regulations are adhered to strictly.”

In 2006, the selectmen passed new rules for the Green that could have prevented large events from returning. The rules included requirements that tents be put up and taken down within two days of the event, and that workers not use stakes to secure the tents.

The ad hoc committee did not recommend the elimination of any rules, but said that some groups would have to request special permission to not comply with some rules.

Mazza said he thinks the town should do a better job of implementing the rules that are in place.

“We need to be very, very strict about enforcing our regulations,” he said. “We wrote the regulations and they look pretty good in principle, but we don’t enforce them.”

Selectwoman Veronica Wallace said she thinks that large events are an “inconvenience,” but they help the town economically.

“If you had asked me a year ago, I would have voted ‘no’ to have (the Craft Expo) on the Green,” Wallace said. “But after seeing several businesses close on Route 1, we can’t talk about economic development and promoting Guilford as a tourism (site) and as a place to come to, and not have the Expo on the Green.”

Wallace said she wants the site coordinators and town officials to ensure that only the permitted number of vehicles are allowed on the Green.

First Selectman Carl Balestracci said he thinks the Craft Expo is too big for the Green, and suggested that organizers consider another site for next year.

But Tracy Brent Calafiore, a member of the ad hoc committee, said she doesn’t think the Expo would be able to take place in another location.

“It would be a great loss,” Calafiore said. “(The Green) is the center, it creates the best ambience for the event, and there is not another location in town that really has that ambience.”

The Craft Expo is set for July 17-19, while Shakespeare on the Shoreline is scheduled to take place Aug. 7-10.

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