Joe Cain Society says fest is kaput
The Joe Cain Society’s procession is history, event organizers say.
“It’s all over,” Ruth Poulter, secretary of the Joe Cain Society of California, said Monday.
She spoke after the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce – the event sponsor – opposed a ban on the consumption of alcohol on city streets during future Joe Cain processions at Monday’s City Council meeting.
Society representatives asked the City Council to impose such a ban, but the council took no action, saying it couldn’t resolve the conflict between the chamber and society.
The next procession was scheduled for March 2, 2003.
Society directors, who want the parade to be a family event, argued for the ban after 14 people were arrested for drunkenness during last February’s celebration.
Curt Colagross, one of the founders of the Joe Cain event and the society’s current treasurer, said Tuesday he is concerned about members’ future liability if open containers remain a part of the celebration.
Under current city rules, people can drink alcohol in the historical district during Joe Cain festivities and other chamber sponsored public events.
If the city were to ban open alcohol containers during the Joe Cain procession, the chamber would withdraw its request to close the street for the event, chamber President David Vertin told the City Council Monday. The event would no longer be insured under the chamber’s policy, Vertin added.
Alcohol is not the problem, chamber representatives said. Unruly people are.
“We love the event. We just differ on how to take care of the problem,” Vertin said.
All chamber-sponsored events should operate under the same rules so as not to confuse the public, said Vertin. The chamber sponsors Joe Cain Day, the Fourth of July Parade, Constitution Day, the Nevada City Bicycle Classic, Summer Nights, Victorian Christmas and other events.
As a compromise, chamber members said the city should impose a ban on glass containers and ask that rooftops and balconies be off-limits to members of the general public.
Chamber members and business owners would also agree to pay up to $2,000 to pay for 10 additional police officers to patrol the streets during the procession. In addition, all publicity would include a statement spelling out a zero-tolerance policy for unruly spectators, they said.
Present at Monday’s City Council meeting were Mayor David McKay and Councilmen Conley Weaver and Steve Cottrell.
Cottrell suggested that society directors operate independently from the chamber, request the street closure for the procession, and ban open alcohol containers during the procession.
But Poulter said after the meeting the society wants to continue to work with the chamber in part because the community is so small.
Chamber members donate $500 annually to the Joe Cain festivities and sell tickets for the annual Joe Cain masquerade ball.
Cottrell appealed to Poulter and the society Tuesday to find a solution to the current impasse and hold the event.
Joe Cain Day, named after a Confederate soldier who brought Mardi Gras back to Mobile, Ala., has been a Nevada City tradition since 1992.
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