They just couldn't bring themselves to do it.
On the verge of canceling their signature event after 37 years, Brookfield Daze, Lions Club members have agreed to keep the event afloat another summer.
Despite dwindling attendance that has left the festival in the red the past two years, the Brookfield Lions intend to stage Brookfield Daze again this summer at Mitchell Park, club President Mike Waddell said.
"We're definitely going to try to do this," Waddell said. "There's nobody in the club that wants to let this go."
As recently as last week, the club declared it was prepared to cancel Brookfield Daze unless the city agreed to move the festival back to Wirth Park, where it flourished for 34 years.
The city resisted a return to Wirth, citing Mitchell's larger size and its location further away from residential neighborhoods.
The Lions are still exploring other options to help make the festival profitable again, whether that means moving the location -- or, perhaps, even changing the date.
The festival is traditionally held in late June -- this year, it is tentatively slated for June 23 to 25 -- but club members believe moving the festival up a few weeks could make it more popular.
The Lions believe that by holding Brookfield Daze in late May or early June, the club could get an early jump on the summer festival season, before crowds have had their fill of cream puffs, cover bands and Tilt-a-Whirls.
However, moving either the date or the location appears to be out of the question for this year.
Mitchell and Wirth are already booked for most spring and summer weekends by events like sports tournaments and family reunions, said city parks director Bill Kolstad.
"They made some inquires to other weekends," Kolstad said. "But given our other commitments, it's pretty late in the season to start moving schedules around."
Lions put controversy aside
Club members were caught off guard last week when the possibility of Brookfield Daze's demise became a political issue. In an article in the Brookfield News, mayoral candidate Cindy Kilkenny criticized incumbent Mayor Jeff Speaker of failing to take the lead in ensuring the festival continues.
Causing political strife is inconsistent with the club's motto, "We serve," Waddell said.
"I don't want to get into an argument with City Hall. I want to hold a Brookfield festival."
Although Waddell remains skeptical that Brookfield Daze can be profitable without a date or location change, the club is determined not to let the festival die.
"This has been going on for 38 years," Waddell said. "I certainly don't want my legacy to be that I let Brookfield Daze go."
"This has been going on for 38 years. I certainly don't want my legacy to be that I let Brookfield Daze go."
Lions Club president
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