Chip Marzuco, organizer of the annual Spring for Down Syndrome event, last Thursday addressed negative comments made by members at the Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen at the previous meeting regarding the event’s UTV poker run on June 8.
Due to the change of dates of the Missouri Special Olympics, the Spring for Down Syndrome was moved back a week to the second Saturday in June. This put the event on the same weekend as the French Heritage Festival and the Felix Valle House State Historic Site’s La Veille.
Flooded roads caused the poker run to be rerouted through downtown Ste. Genevieve, using Main Street just as the French festival’s grand promenade was concluding.
The two aldermen for Ward 1 had passed along complaints from residents of their ward who had been taken aback by the presence of some 300 UTVs in the historic district.
Marzuco thanked the city for supporting the Down Syndrome event.
“It was a major, major success this past year,” he said. “We brought in over $35,000 for special needs. I thank you guys for that.”
He emphasized that Cathy Grusling, French Heritage Festival coordinator, was very pleased to share the weekend with the Down Syndrome event.
“I talked to Cathy for months, and she was ecstatic about it whenever I said we would have it on the same day because she thought it would actually help her event as well as our event,” he said. “And I totally, totally agree. That’s why we had a trolley system with antique tractors that brought people back and forth between the events.”
He said Grusling gushed with praise for the Down Syndrome event and how well the two events complemented each other following that weekend.
“She actually commented to me after the event, hoping that we would have it the same day next year,” Marzuco said.
“The problem was the UTVs downtown,” Mayor Paul Hassler said. “I don’t think there would have been a problem if we hadn’t had the UTVs downtown. I think scheduling the event was smart and good. You and Cathy both talked about that. There were circumstances that were beyond [anyone’s control]; there was flooding at the time.”
“People say we didn’t talk to Cathy and didn’t schedule it,” Marzuco said, “but in the 29th of May in the paper it actually talks about how UTVs will be routed close enough to the festival so that UTV people can actually experience that.”
He said “unfortunately” the grand promenade and the poker run “collided” on Main Street, calling it “something we can tweak” in the future.
“I don’t want the UTV people in Ste. Genevieve or anywhere else to be talked down on, because I don’t want anything happening with UTVs, possibly changing the rules in Ste. Genevieve because of our event,” Marzuco said.
See complete coverage in the July 3 edition of the Herald.