Letter to the editor: Rendezvous Parade direction change – the facts
The Main Street Pinedale board would like to address the information released by Mr. Mark Eatinger, Green River Rendezvous Pageant Association president, in his June 9 letter to the editor and on social media. The information that he released was incomplete and lacked context, leading to an unnecessary uproar within our community. We feel that not only was this irresponsible but that our community deserves to know the full depth of information regarding the reasoning for the change in direction of the Rendezvous Parade two years ago.
The decision was based on the following factors:
Safety for all the parade participants while creating less impact on businesses and residents. As Rendezvous weekend grows, so does the increase in the number of parade floats and participants. To accommodate the increase as well as ensure the safety of all participants, the staging area was moved in front of the middle school on Hennick Street, due to the significant size of the staging area, allowing for the safe maneuvering of all floats, horses, wagons, people, etc. This move also alleviated the congestion on Lincoln Avenue, which impacted businesses and blocked the driveways of nearly 30 residents.
Senior citizen inclusion. Each year the staff of the Sublette Center works hard to afford their residents an opportunity to participate in one of the only Rendezvous activities they can physically attend, the parade. Even though the previous parade route was designed to end after going in front of the Sublette Center, many participants would turn off and end their parade involvement prior to making it all the way up North Bridger. We saw this occurring, heard the concerns and disappointment of this happening, and wanted to create a change. By reversing the direction of the parade, the line-up started directly in front of the Sublette Center, allowing more Sublette County residents to partake in the festivities.
Context. Multiple meetings between the GRRPA and Main Street Pinedale were held in spring 2022, where we informed them of our reasons for changing the parade route, listened to and addressed all of their concerns and made sufficient accommodations and solutions, to include working with the Pinedale Town Council, staff, emergency management, the Sheriff’s Office and the Wyoming Highway Patrol to create actionable ways to ensure the pageant cast’s safety — their primary concern.
After Rendezvous 2022, the Main Street Pinedale board did not hear from the GRRPA, leading us to believe that our accommodations were sufficient and that no further concerns needed to be addressed. We find it unfortunate that Mr. Eatinger and the GRRPA threatened not to participate in the Rendezvous Parade this year, leading to an uproar in the community that unfairly targeted Main Street Pinedale and the town council. Ultimately, through an impassioned town council meeting, Main Street Pinedale was left with no other choice but to reverse the parade back to its original direction in order to ensure that the community could continue to enjoy the historical aspect of the parade provided by the pageant cast. We hoped for further discussions so that an agreement could be reached that benefited all parade participants. Unfortunately, the GRRPA was not interested in further discussion or negotiations, which placed Main Street Pinedale in a difficult situation.
Main Street Pinedale is a 6-member nonprofit organization, whose members all have full-time jobs and families. We host the annual Winter Carnival, Community Clean-up Day and the Farmer’s Market, all in an effort to help raise funds for our Façade Grant Program to help Pinedale’s businesses with making improvements to the outside of their buildings.
Rendezvous wasn’t an event we asked to host, but no other entity stepped up to take it on. The hundreds of hours of planning that go into pulling off this multi-day event are staggering and it’s a thankless job. We were truly not trying to hurt the pageant association in any way, but simply trying to help improve the safety and logistics of the parade for everyone involved.
Our full statement with additional details can be viewed on our website at: www.mainstreetpinedale.com.
The Main Street Pinedale Board