Texas Reds Festival charging entry fee on Saturday
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am
BRYAN -- The Texas Reds Festival is just days away and the city of Bryan is preparing for what they hope to be their largest crowd yet but for the first time in the festival's history, you have to pay an an entry fee to get in, which has left some local businesses very unhappy.
The Texas Reds Festival attracts thousands to the Bryan area and this year should be no exception.
"Steak and wine, the perfect combination. Downtown Bryan, the perfect location and having great weather you know it's just going to be great," said Paul Bonarrigo, owner of the Messina Hof.
In fact, city officials hope to see more than 20,000 people attend but unlike years past, visitors now have to pay a price to enter the fenced-off area, which isn't going over well with local businesses.
"We don't understand why it's there. Nothing has been handed down to us to explain who, what, why, when, where," said Buck Buchanan, owner of Corner of Time.
Some businesses are so unhappy about it they plan to shut their doors down for the weekend.
And while Buck Buchanan doesn't like the fee, he can't afford to lose the business.
"We're going to do what we can. It's business so hopefully we will benefit from being here and people will see our store that's never seen it before," said Buchanan.
City employee Allen Bruggman doesn't think benefiting from the crowds will be a problem for area businesses.
"Take advantage of all these folks coming to downtown in any way you can. We think that by bringing all these people down there and it being such a short amount of time it won't have that big of a bad impact on the businesses," Bruggman said.
And Bonarrigo says the fee is a small price to pay for all the exposure Bryan will get.
"We've been participating in Grapevine for the last 25 years and they charge twice as much and all of the merchants are open because they realize it's a big opportunity for them to get people who would not normally shop in their shop go in that day," said Bonarrigo.
It will cost you five dollars on Saturday but Friday night's festivities are free.