I live in two tourist towns…so I understand the trade-offs. In return for delightful restaurants and shops, we share our town with guests. It means that we have to remove refuse from our yards after every weekend, keep the sidewalks clean, tolerate noise and traffic, pay higher taxes, and maintain our homes. But it is an unspoken covenant that we are willing to enter.
However, the St. Michaels Running Festival is not a shared event. As you can see from the brochure that we received two days prior to the event, it is a takeover and St. Michaels residents and the neighboring communities are merely an annoyance to be tolerated.
St Michaels Running Festival Brochure:
THE RACE IS COMING TO TOWN. Saturday May 14th 7AM to 12PM. Route 33 will be closed from 7 AM to 8AM…EXPECT PERIODIC DELAYS AND MINOR STOPS UNTIL 10:00 AM. Heavy foot traffic will occur (in most of St. Michaels and the surrounding area)…Please reduce your speed and watch for runners if you MUST travel during the event. We appreciate your support and patience as we welcome 2,000 runners and their families to our community.
As the brochure makes clear, this is an invasion. Allow me to paraphrase what really happens:
(Recommended) St. Michaels Running Festival Brochure:
The St Michaels Running Festival is coming to town. We are a for-profit business (that can be sold as any business); that generates substantial revenue from taking advantage of the facilities that you pay for. Please stay out of our way.
Response A: We don’t care.
- We will inconvenience thousands by shutting down the only road to the west. See Response A.
- We do not ask for your permission or appreciate your sacrifices. We are aware that we are taking advantage of your facilities paid for by your tax dollars to make our own profit. Please refer to Response A.
- We know that traffic and closures last long past 10 AM. See Response A.
- We know that a small town like St. Michaels cannot accommodate 2,000 racers and their families. Please refer to Response A.
- We prefer that you remain in your homes, so you will not be a burden to our event. Your little errands are of no concern to us. Please refer to Response A.
- If you thoughtlessly choose to venture out, understand that many of you will not be able to park next to your homes, or even get to them. Please refer to Response A.
- Do not use the nature trail, your sidewalks, or your streets for your trivial needs or to go the market. Do not ride your bike. Please see Response A.
- If you selfishly choose to use your town for your little lives, expect to be harassed by our employees. After all, you are an unwelcome nuisance. See Response A.
- We realize that we are taking over the nature trail that is heavily used by residents to enjoy nature and to walk their dogs. Get over it, it is only one morning. Consider boarding your dog or getting rid of the dog, which will solve future problems. See Response A.
- We know that we could offer this race on rural roads that are close to St. Michaels which would allow the merchants to get their revenues at less inconvenience to the thousands of impacted residents. Please see Response A.
- We could also pick an earlier time that is less inconvenient. But please see Response A.
- When we leave, please pick up the refuse in your yard…a dirty town is, well, a downer.
- And St. Michaels residents, continue to maintain your homes and sidewalks, because we will be back next year. You have no choice in the matter. See Response A.
An alternative viewpoint would be to appreciate the generosity and sacrifice of the community rather than treating them as a problem that must be contained. For example:
ALTERNATIVE St. Michaels Running Festival Brochure:
The St. Michaels Running Festival will occur on _________. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the generous residents of St. Michaels and the surrounding community. We realize that this is an imposition and would like to help you as much as possible. Please stop by the race start after 8 a.m.; we have a T-shirt for you (or gift card or tchotchke) to thank you for opening your town to us. We have posted a map of our route on our website (www.Iactuallycare) that shows where and when you can expect the heaviest foot traffic. Feel free to reach out to our race coordinators, they are there to make this as easy as we can for you. Thank you again for opening up your delightful community to us.
Or, see Response A.
Angela Rieck, a Caroline County native, received her PhD in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Maryland and worked as a scientist at Bell Labs, and other high-tech companies in New Jersey before retiring as a corporate executive. Angela and her dogs divide their time between St Michaels and Key West Florida. Her daughter lives and works in New York City.