MANATEE -- The annual Halloween Safe Kids Night hosted by the CrimeStoppers of Manatee County Inc. has been canceled over a conflicting new Halloween parade.
Manatee CrimeStoppers Executive Director Frank Brunner announced the news in an email, saying the board voted to cancel the event after trying since Aug. 25 to "resolve the conflicts and obstacles associated with the Hardball Halloween Parade."
The Palmetto City Council approved the parade, which is being hosted by the Palmetto-based law firm of Kallins, Little & Delgado, on Aug. 24.
Both the parade and the Halloween Safe Kids Night were set to begin at 6 p.m. Halloween night. The parade will take place a few blocks from the Manatee County Fairgrounds at 1402 14th Ave. W., Palmetto.
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Brunner said the parade requires that streets near the fairgrounds be closed, preventing people from getting to the CrimeStoppers event.
"We attempted to provide several solutions, including
revising the parade start time and location to allow for partnering with our event, but could not get a resolution in a timely manner," Brunner wrote in an email.
Last year, the CrimeStoppers event brought large crowds of costumed families to the fairgrounds.
Brunner said the board worked until Sept. 28 with hope for an official change and approval by the Palmetto City Commission, but the amendments were not approved. He added that the board cannot proceed without an official decision from the city.
"Too many attempts without positive results in the past month occurred for us to proceed in good faith, without the concern of more challenges or obstacles," he added.
"We feel like we have lost the momentum of the event with both sponsors and vendors. We will not be able to execute the event with the standard of excellence we strive for and the community has come to expect from Manatee CrimeStoppers."
Brunner declined to comment Monday.
A message left for Heather Junqueira, who does marketing for the law firm, also was not returned.
According to a Sept. 29 letter sent by Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant to Junqueira, the law firm agreed to reverse the direction of the parade so it would assemble near Sutton Park to kick off at 5 p.m., heading north and ending at the Manatee County Fairgrounds. The mayor wrote that Assistant City Clerk Amber Foley would amend the law firm's special function permit for both Junqueira's and Groover Bryant's signature.
Groover Bryant said Monday that she was unable to meet with Junqueira earlier than Sept. 29 because Junqueira had been on vacation.
"When we realized that Mr. Brunner was concerned, he was to contact our deputy city clerk and I don't know that he ever did that," Groover Bryant said.
The mayor described the situation as "unfortunate."
"I would hope that it would not put a damper on the good intentions of Kallins, Little & Delgado because what they were doing was bringing a parade to Palmetto that's been successful elsewhere," Groover Bryant said. "Certainly we are praying for good weather for it and hoping that the community enjoys the event because it will be new to the city of Palmetto."
As for the CrimeStoppers' event, the mayor said it's unfortunate that the board had to pull it this year.
"I don't know if they had other problems... I have no idea. My last conversation with them was last Monday night -- that we would meet the rep from the law firm and come to an amenable conclusion. I guess maybe 12 hours was not fast enough," she said. "I hope that they can do their event successfully next year."
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.