Monday, October 06, 2014

ChicagoFail: Chicago Fire Festival drowns in river

Chicago River downtown
The wisdom of holding a festival centered around the 1871 Chicago Fire--which destroyed almost all of the city in a few hours--is dubious, although one can argue that Chicago did arise from the ashes as a better city--wider streets, more brick buildings, and of course far more people.

But Saturday night's debacle makes me wonder again.

From the Chicago Tribune:
An influential alderman on Monday called the Great Chicago Fire Festival "the fiasco on the river" after a disappointing debut last weekend in which floating model houses failed to ignite.

Ald. Ed Burke, 14th, the dean of the City Council and chairman of the Finance Committee, said that hundreds of thousands of dollars in city funds “went to this fiasco” and requested that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration provide a full accounting to the Budget Committee.

"I'd like to see how much taxpayer money was devoted to it," Burke said later. When asked why it was "a fiasco," he said a Latin phrase meaning “the thing speaks for itself."

The Emanuel-backed festival got $350,000 in city money, according to previous information provided by the mayor's office. An additional $1.5 million or so came from private backers.
Related post:

October 8, 1871: The Peshtigo Fire

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