GARLAND – By Cari Doutre – Feb. 26, 2020
The discussion came up among members of the Garland City Council on whether it’s time the city’s annual Wheat and Beet Day’s celebration is still worth holding - and some members of the council didn’t hold back on what they thought.
Garland City Councilmember Linda Bourne was the first to bring up the subject during a Garland City Council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 19. Bourne didn’t bring up the topic of Wheat and Beet Days but after a long discussion between the mayor and councilmembers trying to find just the time to hold the celebration this year, she asked a simple question.
“What would happen if we didn’t have Wheat and Beet Days anymore?” Bourne asked the council.
Citing that participation and attendance has been down over the past several years, and the cost it takes for the city to put on, Bourne started a discussion about the possibility of canceling Wheat and Beet Days all together.
Earlier in the meeting, the city tried to find a date that would work best for the city and the community, especially with other city and town events, camps and other activities during the busy summer months.
Traditionally, Wheat and Beet Days was held the first Friday and Saturday in August. In conjunction with Wheat and Beet Days, the Miss Bear River Valley Scholarship competition is usually held the week before and the new royalty joins in on the city’s celebrations.
In 2019 the city decided that after years of declining attendance and participation at Wheat and Beet Days, they would try something different. And they did just that.
Instead of holding Wheat and Beet Days in August, Garland City held it June 28-29. The public’s response was split.
“We had people on both sides of the fence,” said Garland City Mayor Todd Miller.
Some residents didn’t like that Garland City changed the tradition, while others liked the move to an earlier summer weekend. After just one year of making that change, Miller isn’t sure if the city should make the move a long-term decision. Miller wasn’t the only one who had that thought.
“We need to do it more than one year to get a good look at if it’s working or not,” said councilman Roger Ogborn about holding Wheat and Beet Days earlier in the summer.
Regardless of the date, councilman Josh Marble added, “the important thing is that we get people there.”
“I think it’s a matter of where we get the most participation,” added Marble.
After Bourne started the discussion of cancelling Wheat and Beet Days all together, other councilmembers chimed in and even brought up alternatives to the two-day event.
“What if we just do fireworks and call it good?” Asked councilman Chuck Bingham.
The city holds fireworks every year on Saturday night at the city’s main park where vendor booths are set up, activities and a live band perform.
Councilman James Munns added his thought that the city should consider having Wheat and Beet Days on Saturday, eliminating Friday all together.
Miller still sees the appeal in having a city-wide event and didn’t want to make any final decisions that night. He told the council they will address this issue with other “key players” who are involved in Wheat and Beet Days.
From there they will decide what the future holds for this decades old celebration.