Festival survives sabotage PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER, Sentinel Staff Writer   
Monday, 12 August 2013 09:26
MaryAnn Gonzalez (right) and her husband David dance Saturday evening during the Mexican-American festival in Perrysburg. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
PERRYSBURG - Further attempts at sabotage were not enough to dim spirits at the first Perrysburg Mexican-American Festival on Saturday.
Organizers encountered additional problems over the weekend in replacing Ohio's South of the Border Festival, a long-running tradition in Perrysburg Heights.
They discovered Friday there was no power to a utility pole used to provide electricity for the event, said Jason Craig, treasurer of the Perrysburg Heights Community Association. Craig said he learned from a Toledo Edison representative that Anita Serda, a former PHCA board member, called to have the power shut off roughly two weeks after she was voted off the board in late May.
Two vendors also received emails last month asking to change or cancel orders, one indicating a nonexistent sponsorship with a competing company. The messages were signed by board members but not sent by them.
Efforts are underway to track down the Internet Protocol address of the computer used to send the messages, and Craig said PHCA has been in touch with an attorney and Perrysburg Township police.
Craig said he previously enjoyed a positive working relationship with Anita Serda and her daughter Stephanie Serda, former PHCA executive director. But things changed when the board voted to stop paying for two positions, including executive director, after which Stephanie Serda resigned.
PHCA's $10,000 monthly budget was reduced to about $4,000 without the payroll that included the $42,000 executive-director salary, as the organization could not continue operating with the overhead after losing more than $100,000 in the last two years.
Despite the difficulties, Craig said Saturday's festival was the most successful community event of the last five years.
Attendance was estimated at more than 1,300, nearly double that of last year's two-day event. Proceeds will likely include a profit of at least $3,000, with more expected to come in.
Six bands performed throughout the day and night, with food vendors, games, children's activities and more drawing in the crowd.
"It was a crazy-great party," Craig said.
Last Updated on Monday, 12 August 2013 09:28

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