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Letter to the editor: Criticism of Du Quoin Tourism is way off base

  • Mayor Guy Alongi

    Mayor Guy Alongi

 
updated: 6/3/2020 10:49 AM

Mayor Guy Alongi responds to negative Facebook comments after the Du Quoin Tourism committee posted that the July 2 fireworks have been canceled. Alongi says naysayers should volunteer for the committee's events to discover how valuable tourism is to the city's economy, "instead of being rocking chair straw bosses from the sideline."

I am standing up for our ladies of Du Quoin Tourism who bust their butts every year and work countless hours to bring us the Holiday Lights Fair, Concerts in the Park, the Fall Festival, the Halloween Parade and the July Fourth fireworks, and who plant flowers in the community.

Which leads me to my primary comments.

I was never so embarrassed for our community, than to see the negative comments posted on Du Quoin Tourism's Facebook page when they announced the fireworks on the 2nd of July at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds had been canceled. Words like "ignorance," "terrible decision," "why cancel now?" along with other rude comments were used.

Let me explain to you the reasoning behind this decision. One, the event would have been held at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds as it is every year. In reaching out to officials they could not give us any definite decision as to whether the state of Illinois would allow the event to happen even if we went to Phase 4 on June 26 -- which will allow 50 or fewer to gather.

Two, the vendor had a 30-day window for us to tell them if we would have the event. Other factors had to be considered, like health and safety.

All of these elements were out of Du Quoin Tourism's control. Other venues were thought about, like our city park. But it's not safe to shoot large fireworks off in town and then there's the parking problem of having 3,000 to 4,000 people. In the end, these ladies had their backs against the wall.

These ladies have full-time jobs and do all of this as volunteers. Let's have respect for the job they do for our community. The events they host bring smiles to many children and adults in our community every year.

Here is one thing to think about. Instead of questioning their decision and belittling them on Facebook, why don't you pick up the phone and volunteer at their next event? Maybe, just maybe, you will realize what they do to make Du Quoin better.

Tourism, I have your backs. I hope the community knows how hard you work.

Mayor Guy Alongi
Du Quoin