CCSD Directors commit to providing more assistance to Elk Grove's Western Festival so event can resume next year

During their regular meeting last night, the Cosumnes Community Services Board of Directors verbally committed to ensuring the Western Festival will return next year.

On April 29, CCSD general manager Phil Lewis issued a letter to the Western Festival volunteer organization stating that the annual event held at Elk Grove Regional Park was canceled after they failed to comply with any paperwork requirements. The event, held for over 60 years, is believed to be Elk Grove's longest festival, tracing its roots to when the community was more rural and agricultural-based. 

After hearing four people speak during public comment on non-agenda items, board chair Jim Luttrell read a prepared statement. Although one speaker who did not identify herself frequently interrupted his recital, Luttrell said the district would offer more assistance during the planning stages. 

Before he made that commitment, Luttrell said the Western Festival's non-compliance was a matter of safety and security for attendees.

"With only two weeks before the event, proceeding without the documents would have compromised public safety and created a public liability," Luttrell read. "As stewards of public safety, we must prioritize the well-being of our community." 

As he read the comments over the person who spoke during public comment who was interrupting him, Luttrell said, "We guarantee that we have assigned three more [CCSD staff] people to the committee for next year."

Unscripted, Luttrell also told the audience, "We're going to make it work next year. It just happened too late this year. I'm sorry." 

The cancellation caused a social media uproar. That uproar drew less than a dozen people to the meeting, four of whom spoke. 

Among the speakers were the person who did not identify themself, Western Festival organizer Lynden King, Brian Coulson, and Randy Bekker.

Their comments can be heard here.   

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