MANSFIELD -- The City Council cleared the way Monday for a last-minute festivity to replace the Mansfield Pecan Festival, which the Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce canceled after 25 years.
The city touched on the German heritage of its founders when it came up with a tongue-in-cheek name for the new event: Mansfield Wurst Hometown Festival. It's set for Aug. 13 and will feature polka bands, German food -- including bratwurst, of course -- and beverages, wiener dog races, bounce houses and other activities in the historic downtown.
Although the city is taking the lead and committing up to $19,500 for the Wurst Fest, the chamber is participating -- partly with sweat equity -- to work off the $30,000 in hotel-motel tax money the city already doled out to the chamber for the 2011 Pecan Festival.
Chamber officials surprised city officials in March with the news that they were canceling the event, saying it no longer fit their mission. They also acknowledged having already spent the money, mostly on leftover costs from last year's event.
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Mayor David Cook, who led the push for a replacement festival, helped broker a compromise to square the books. The chamber is responsible for the costs of setting up the vendor area and other duties at the Wurst Fest, which will be on Main Street instead of the Pecan Fest's home at Rose Park.
Downtown Merchants and the Historical Society are also helping.
Parks Director Shelly Lanners said the event will be the only German-theme festival in Tarrant County.
Cook said the plan next year is to move Wurst Fest to late September, taking over the calendar slot of the Pecan Festival.
"I think this is going to end up as a much bigger project that will move forward," Cook said.
In other business:
The council gave second approval to an amendment to the city's animal ordinance that would require livestock owners to register their animals and pay a one-time $25 fee. They would also have to post a sign, provided free by the city, on their gates to display their permit number. The change, which needs a third council vote for final approval, was proposed by employees to make it easier to find owners of stray livestock.
"The goal is to keep that animal from getting on the roadway and getting someone hurt," Police Chief Gary Fowler said.
Councilman Mike Leyman was elected mayor pro tem.
Robert Cadwallader, 817-390-7641