In an effort to discourage a log jam of politicians in its upcoming parade, organizers of Stillwater's city festival are asking for a fee for candidates to participate.
The Pioneer Press says organizers of the Stillwater Log Jam Parade, set for Sunday, are requiring politicians to pay $1,000 to be in the parade. A fee of $75 is also required for nonprofit groups to participate.
One of the Log Jam parade organizers, Erin McQuay, tells the Pioneer Press that she got backlash about the fee, but not from community members, "who asked that we don't have politicians in the parade, and we wanted to honor that request."
McQuay says the state Democratic Party pooled resources and will have about six candidates in the parade, but the state Republican Party has declined to participate.
"You don't want to do that to the people who are donating to your campaign, especially when $1,000 could be spent in so many other places," State Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Mary's Point, told the Pioneer Press. Housley is also a Lt. governor candidate for Scott Honour.
Money raised from the politicians' entry fees will go to offset the nonprofits' entry fees, parade organizers say.
The politicians' entry fee isn't the only thing new about the Stillwater Log Jam festival this year. The head of the Locals, a five-person group chosen by the city to market the festival, says the event has been revamped to cater to families and promote the St. Croix Valley’s rich logging history.
Event organizer Brad Glynn told the Star Tribune they really wanted "to get back to the original purpose of the summer festival – to celebrate our heritage and showcase the cultural significance of Stillwater in Minnesota."
The Stillwater Log Jam festival weathered some controversy earlier this year over the event's name, which some city officials complained had a "sexual connotation."
“We were made aware – how can I put this delicately? – that the name was a vulgar reference that we would prefer not to have associated with a family event in the city,” Mayor Ken Haryicki said in January. “We don’t want to be the laughingstock of the nation.”
Word of the city’s request had several readers at odds with each other in comments section of the Stillwater’s Patch’s story of the controversy.
One reader wrote, “This is ridiculous! Seeing as how the name ‘Ice Cream Social’ is already taken, how about something totally controversial like ‘Stillwater Days?’”
City officials ended up withdrawing their request for the name change.
The Stillwater Log Jam replaced the city's previous celebration, Lumberjack Days, which ended in 2011 due to financial troubles and other issues.