Social media pressure causes PTC to change plans on tasting event

Backlash from a Facebook group called “PTC Wall of Shame” prompted Peachtree City Manager Jim Pennington to confirm Friday that the Starr’s Mill Band Boosters will get to have their “Spring Sampler” fundraiser event again in 2016.

A letter from the Peachtree City Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) to the band boosters was posted on the Facebook group last week. The letter indicated that the CVB would be holding its own Taste of Peachtree City event for the first time in 2016, so the booster club could still have a concert hosted at the Fred as planned, but could not bring back the successful food sampling aspect of the fundraiser.

In the original Facebook post regarding the letter, Kenneth Schmidt said the “the Convention & Visitors Bureau and PTC Rec Dept want to co-opt this fundraising event for themselves as a for-profit event. They’ve had years to do an event like this and have decided to take SMHS hard work for themselves.”

In a press release Friday, Pennington confirmed that the city had changed its position and will allow the booster club to hold its “Spring Sampler” event. The release noted that the change came after a “flurry of email and social media activity on Thursday night and Friday Morning.”

Pennington said, “I think I can speak for all of Council and staff when I say we wholeheartedly support our local schools and the volunteer groups who make many of the programs possible. The Spring Sampler was a success in 2015, and we hope to see it again in 2016.”

In the release Pennington said the recreation department had originally conceived of a tasting event in 2014.

“Planning and implementing new events can take months. Our Recreation and Special Events Department began looking at a ‘Taste of’ event in 2014 as a way to showcase interested local restaurants, to provide an event currently lacking in the annual lineup, and to help raise funds that would offset the many other free events the department holds throughout the year,” Pennington said.

The planned Taste of Peachtree City event will not be held in 2016, Pennington said. “We also try to keep our range of special events as diverse as possible so that all of them are successful. There was apparently some miscommunication between our staff and the booster club about the duplication of events. The Spring Sampler was a success, and to prevent competing events next year, it will be the only event of this nature in 2016.”

Mayor Vanessa Fleisch also weighed in on the incident.

“While ‘Taste of’ events are nothing new, Peachtree City didn’t have one.  Obviously two groups saw this opportunity, but our school programs take priority,” Fleisch said. “We are very blessed to have a talented and enthusiastic staff that is always looking for that next great idea to offer our residents. I appreciate their constant efforts and can’t wait to see what they will come up with next for Peachtree City.”

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