Tuesday, May 23, 2000

Maifest presents minimal trouble

Organizers, city pleased

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Except for a diesel fuel spill, the 21st annual Maifest went off without a hitch, organizers and city officials said Monday.

        Although overcast skies kept the weekend's Maifest attendance at 110,000 — less than the projected 150,000 — the sponsoring MainStrasse Village Association was pleased.

        “After speaking to resi dents and a majority of our vendors, I think the festival went extremely well,” said Nick Franzese, a Maifest organizer.

        “We thought it was a great Maifest, and we're looking forward to Oktoberfest.”

        Of the 37 calls received during the three-day festival by the MainStrasse Village command center, more than half were from residents who were complimentary of how the festival was going, Mr. Franzese said. The economic impact from Maifest is estimated to be between $1 million and $2 million.

        Police issued 43 parking citations and cited or arrested 27 people for various offenses, including 18 for possession of alcohol by minors, said Lt. Col. Bill Dorsey, spokesman for the Covington Police Department.

        The total included five people charged with disor derly conduct, two who were cited for public intoxication, and one charged with possession of marijuana.

        Another person was picked up on an outstanding warrant.

        About 200 gallons of diesel fuel spilled just after 2 a.m. Monday, when a truck hauling away rides for Kissel Brothers Shows drove over a stump in Goebel Park and broke a valve, authorities said. No one was hurt.

        By Monday afternoon, Clean Harbors Environmental Services of Winton Place had removed contaminated soil from a 50-by-50-foot area, said Brian Ludwig, a specialist with the firm.

        Within a week, the park should be restored to its original condition, once soil samples are analyzed by an EPA-registered lab to ensure there is no further contamination, Mr. Ludwig said.

        Unlike the recent Mardi Gras — when residents of Covington's MainStrasse neighborhood complained that partiers indulged in public urination and nudity — Maifest was a family-oriented walk in the park.

        Tom Steidel, Covington's assistant city manager, monitored Maifest throughout the weekend. He wasn't surprised by the pleasant results.

        “We never really expected to have a Mardi Gras-type situation at this event, ” he said.

        “But we were already looking at making some changes when Mardi Gras happened. We did a much better job of policing, a much better job of managing garbage, and the (portable toilets) were always available.”


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