For decades, the Howell Melon Fest has offered family-friendly fun for all. Each year, thousands of local residents and tourists make the time to come by our city and share in all Livingston County has to offer.
It’s a diverse, welcoming event that presumes to make no judgment about who comes to enjoy it, as it should be.
But this year, there’s something new on the agenda. “Raunchy Drag Bingo” has been set to be held in a tent right in the middle of downtown Howell on Saturday night.
Last week, I expressed my concerns on social media, simply stating, “The Howell Melon Fest is supposed to be a family-friendly event and not one that should be sexualized with an event like this.”
Within hours of expressing my concerns, I was accused of being intolerant of people who are different. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
My concerns regarding Drag Bingo have nothing to do with any individual’s sexual preference, sexual orientation, or gender identity. None of those are any of my business.
However, I am concerned that the Howell Area Parks and Recreation Authority, which is a taxpayer-funded entity, is using its public resources to hold a fundraiser for a private organization that is advertising that “there will be many raunchy jokes for adult audiences only” during a family-friendly festival.
Furthermore, it has become clear that the public employees who organized this event failed to consult with the City of Howell, or officials in Howell, Marion, Genoa, or Oceola Townships, which compose the HAPRA Board of Directors. This flagrant disregard for transparency is deeply alarming.
Whether it’s raunchy Drag Bingo or if the festival added a Melon Fest Wet T-Shirt contest, my concerns would remain the same.
There is a time and place for events like Drag Bingo – and our local summer festival funded and supported by the taxpayers in Livingston is simply not the time nor the place.