The battle over who controls the Strange Folk Festival in O’Fallon is, um ... strange.
No one disputes that Autumn Wiggins founded the festival and has been the driving force behind it for 10 years. But it’s puzzling that she would rather kill the event she created than let the city keep it going and growing. Wiggins told the city in January that there would be no more Strange Folk festivals. “Give me my laptop back, and let’s call it a day,” she wrote recently in an online statement. However, the city is planning this year’s festival.
We don’t know the legalities of who controls what or if there is anything in writing. But after a decade of operation in O’Fallon, Strange Folk took on a life of its own. The city has invested time and resources in building up the festival, and understandably is not willing to let this popular festival end just because Wiggins has decided she’s tired of doing it. We would want and expect Art on the Square in Belleville to continue, even if the driving force behind it, Patty Gregory, decided she wanted to step away. It’s the same for O’Fallon.
It’s a shame that the two sides can’t reach an amicable agreement; thousands of people look forward to the festival each year, and a lot of crafters will lose a lucrative venue for selling their wares if it ends. Instead Wiggins and the city seem headed toward a full-out legal battle. If that happens, the only winners will be the lawyers.