We were hoping there’d be a happy ending to the tale of the Strange Folk Festival, but unfortunately the story unfolded as an ego-driven evil queen doing battle with the seven dwarfs or as Smeagol facing thieving hobbits that led to the death of O’Fallon’s iconic celebration of art and the odd.
Since 2005 O’Fallon has hosted, gnomes, guitars, fairies, crafters and lots of imagination on the last weekend in September during the festival. Founder Autumn Wiggins needed a break, and in April summarily declared there would be no festival this year.
Fingers were pointed. Legal armaments were forged. Missives were blogged.
In the end, the city deemed the festival was not worth the fight.
Too bad more of the players didn’t get that the festival should be about community and not individuals. Too bad more attention wasn’t paid to succession and the festival’s ability to survive. Too bad rancor and resentment is now part of the legacy.
“There are no winners in this situation, and the losers are the city’s residents,” O’Fallon’s city web site stated.
So now the quest for the strange is moving on. Wiggins plans to take her festival on the last weekend in September to Union Station with “200 talented makers and 10+ live bands” sprinkled through the old mall’s three levels.