The Blueberry Festival is Coming to Argos!
Posted by Bob Barcus on July 24th, 2014
OK, now that I’ve gotten your attention, please stop hating on Argos.
Yesterday, the Pilot News made a post on their Facebook page in reference to the Blueberry Festival potentially moving from Plymouth to Argos. Instantly, a variety of negative comments came pouring in that ranged from “foolish” and “disaster” to “terrible” and “huge mistake”. This was all in response to a Blueberry Festival board member who approached the interim superintendent at Argos Community Schools with the possibility.
The firestorm didn’t stop with a few negative comments, but digressed into an all-out attack on the integrity of the Argos community. Some of the comments suggested that Argos was a gross and nasty little town (that comment was apparently deleted afterwards) and that we were somehow responsible for ruining the Marshall County 4H Fair. Why is there so much hate for Argos?
I think this rumor has brought to light one of the biggest problems I have personally seen in this county that goes well beyond the current controversy. For many people, if it doesn’t happen in Plymouth, then it doesn’t happen at all. Last time I checked, Argos was still located within the boxed borders of Marshall County, which is the namesake for the Marshall County Blueberry Festival (not the “Plymouth Blueberry Festival” as one commenter put it).
News happens all over the county, but rarely do reporters in Plymouth pick themselves up off their duffs and make the journey into the apparent untamed wilderness beyond the city limits of Plymouth. News happens all the time, but most of it beyond Plymouth goes completely unreported. I’m sure that people in other parts of the county experience the same thing. I don’t subscribe to the Pilot News precisely because it rarely covers any of the local news that I care about.
The great exception to this rule is when something horrific happens (and it has to be really horrific). Someone has to die in Argos before we get any notoriety. If someone breaks a finger nail in Plymouth, that is more likely to make the front page than an honor-roll student in Argos bringing home a state championship in some scholastic competition.
Some of the logic behind the comments on the Facebook post were also bewildering. One of the craziest suppositions made was the huge number of hotel rooms in Plymouth. By one guestimate, more than 300,000 people attend the Blueberry Festival. Several commenters eluded to the fact that there are plenty of motels and hotels in Plymouth to accommodate the crowd. Really? There are only a handful of places to stay in Plymouth, so each hotel must contain 25,000+ rooms. Apparently, you can believe whatever you want and it’s OK to make up all sorts of numbers to justify your claims.
The Real Reason the Rumor Started
Now that I’ve defended my little town and pointed out a few problems I have with the math people are using, let me touch upon the reason why I think this rumor started. Oh, and by the way, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this rumor.
Every time the committee that runs the Blueberry Festival is pushed up against the wall by the City of Plymouth, they push back by threatening to leave. As the comments have already proven, the people don’t want the festival to leave Plymouth (regardless of how ill-informed, hateful or misguided they may be). In response, the City of Plymouth will back down, just like they always have and the festival will continue at Centennial Park. It’s a tactic I’ve seen used on more than one occasion. The people of Plymouth are so outraged that they’ve even started a Facebook page to “save” the Blueberry Festival and many are suggesting that the mayor’s office be flooded with calls from concerned citizens.
Personally, I don’t think the Blueberry Festival is ever going to come to Argos. Could the town conceivably handle an event of this magnitude? Yes, I think it could. Would I like to fight the traffic just to get to Dollar General? No, I would not. Buying a pack of toilet paper is of paramount concern to me and trumps any notions of moving the Blueberry Festival.
UPDATE: Apparently, there's a new Facebook movement called "Bring the Marshall County Blueberry Festival to Argos". Only 41 likes as of this writing compared to the nearly 900 trying to save the festival from the grimy hands of us Argos-dwellers.