Now They're Worried About Keeping People Away From Fair Park on the Fourth

First thing this morning I saw Sarah Blaskovich's story about Friends of Fair Park's decision to cancel Fair Park Fourth -- no money, natch. Well, that's disappointing. I've been once; my folks, a few times. The Gruccis did a nice job. And, as evidenced by our trip down there last year, the whole park comes to life, and not only at night.

I finally spoke to Craig Holcomb, former Dallas City Council member and the Friends' exec director, about the decision, which came down Tuesday. I wondered, because I hadn't seen this answered: What did title sponsor Dr Pepper Snapple Group think of the decision? And: Did the city make any effort to keep the thing alive?

Says Holcomb, he didn't even ask the city -- didn't think now, with the budget about to get its second scalping in two years, was the time. "Didn't feel like it was right to ask the city," says Holcomb. In years past, the city has paid for set-up, clean-up and security. "And we did not feel like it was right to ask them to do that this year, so we didn't," Holcomb says. "Those are expenses, especially security, you have to have, and we were not able to raise the funds."

Dr Pepper Snapple, which funded the fireworks and the musical performances, still wanted to be involved. But Holcomb says he let the Plano-based soft-drink company know Tuesday, the same day he contacted city officials, that the Friends were calling it off.

"I said, I've shaken every tree I can shake, and w're going to cancel the event,'" Holcomb says. And the company didn't offer to cover the costs -- says Holcomb, that deal with Coke's got Dr Pepper higher-ups all tied up at present, and, well, "priorities are priorities."

Now, Holcomb and city officials have another problem on their hands: letting people know the Fair Park Fourth's dead. At least, for this year.

"People are disappointed," he says. "And I'm very disappointed. But the city and I are worried people will still show up, and how do we gracefully handle that? We'll put big signs up pretty soon so people will know. I don't know yet. But we'll have to do something."

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