SILVER CREEK - The Silver Creek Festival of Grapes is over, but for some the family-friendly experience was ruined by people smoking during the event.
Hanover resident Melissa Shaw attended a recent Silver Creek Village Board meeting to ask if the board would consider making village property and events smoke free.
"The reason I'm here today is to talk about an issue this year at the Festival of Grapes and last year's festival about the amount of smoking that happens especially in the kiddie area where the rides are. I don't know if anybody else noticed it, if you have small children and tried to push them through the crowd with a stroller, dodging people every couple of feet you come up on somebody smoking ... It really just ruined our experience the last couple of years," she said.
OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino
Resident Melissa Shaw recently asked the Silver Creek Village Board to consider making village parks and festivals smoke free.
Shaw said she tried speaking with the Festival of Grapes Committee but was referred to the village board.
"I've tried talking to the committee about it ... Last year I complained about it and asked if there was some rule against smoking in the park and Brian Boedo checked and said there is one that says there is no smoking on village property ... I assumed that something was going to be done this year but I didn't even see any signs posted. They told me it is up to the village is you don't want smoking at a festival it is something that has to be done with police and the village," she explained.
Shaw said she was told it is hard to enforce a no smoking rule in open air but disagreed, thinking of the many outdoor places which are smoke free.
"They said you can't regulate it because it is open air and I thought 'that's silly.' You can't smoke at the Bills games, you can't smoke on school grounds, you can't smoke anywhere in New York, so why can't we make the Festival of Grapes smoke-free? ... It is something I feel strongly about and I hope that you do too if you have small children or grandchildren," she added.
Village Attorney Dan Gard said the ordinance she referred to only has effect inside village buildings, not outdoor property and the ordinance only refers to one area of the park.
Shaw asked if the board would be in favor of passing a local law to make village parks and festivals smoke free.
"Is this something you would be interested in implementing? Something that makes the park a smoke free area that's safe and healthy for families and children to engage in playing and exercise activities and especially for festivals with large groups of people in small quarters ... I'm not suggesting calling the police every time somebody lights a cigarette but at least make people aware of the behavior we expect from them on village property," she said.
Trustee Ben Peters said he is in favor of taking action to make village parks smoke free.
Mayor Kurt Lindstrom said he would look into it.
The next village board meeting is Monday at 8 p.m.