Smoking is permitted on some parts of the Buffalo Grove Days festival grounds, while it is prohibited on most others. Trustee Mike Terson, voicing concern for the health of festival-goers and a desire to have a consistent policy for the entire event, thinks it’s time to ban smoking during the five-day event.
The festival spans the grounds of the , which hosts the business fair, arts and crafts fair, and food and beer tents; ’s field, which becomes home to the main entertainment stage; and the ’s , which holds rides and games.
Smoking is always prohibited on park district grounds and St. Mary’s property. However, smokers can light up on village grounds unless they are in an enclosed space, such as the food tent or beer tent.
“It just so happens that the only area in which smoking is supposed to be allowed is the area in which we are selling food and beverages and expecting people to congregate,” Terson said.
“Children should not be forced to inhale secondhand smoke while walking from the main stage through the beer tent or business expo area to get to the carnival,” said Terson, who also expressed concern for guests of all ages who suffer from respiratory ailments.
Having an inconsistent message about smoking on festival grounds is confusing and can lead to people smoking on the park district and church property, he added.
“I see this an as opportunity for us as leaders in the community to do the right thing by protecting the health of children, adults and seniors in our community, as well as those who visit it, by completely banning smoking at the Buffalo Grove Days festival,” Terson said.
“I think it is just a matter of time before this is the norm and all outdoor festivals will be smoke free. We can be a follower and wait for that to happen, or we can be an innovator and set the trend that others will end up following by banning smoking at our festival.”
Terson asked the Village Board Aug. 6 to direct the village manager to make an administrative decision to ban smoking at the festival.
The Village Board could not take action on Terson’s proposal because it was not on the meeting agenda. Directing the village manager to take action would have been a violation of the Open Meetings Act, village attorney Bill Raysa said.
The meeting was the last one before Buffalo Grove Days begins on Aug. 30. While that means no changes will be made to the festival’s smoking rules this year, they could be adopted in the future.
Village President Jeff Braiman said he’d like to solicit input on the proposal from the Buffalo Grove Days committee. Trustee Jeff Berman asked Village Manager Dane Bragg to present a recommendation from staff at a future meeting.
“We could certainly put that together. I’m not certain that’s ever going to result in a recommendation that everybody is happy with, no matter what we do,” Bragg said.
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