GRAMPIAN — The 44th edition of Grampian-Penn-Bloom Homecoming and Festival was canceled last year to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Festival committee Chairwoman Susan Wescott said the committee had been planning and working toward hosting a smaller festival in June — but those plans are currently in jeopardy because of a deliberate act of destruction at Grampian Community Park.
Wescott said the committee had scheduled the festival for June 24-26 with the majority of activities at the park. She said many favorite components of the festival were planned to return, including live musical entertainment, a parade and a variety of foods. She said however because of the damage at the park, plans are uncertain at this time
A number items in the park were damaged in mid-March according to Grampian-Penn-Bloom Fire Chief Jim Carns Jr. The list includes lights in the pavilion and the restrooms broken and the bulbs smashed, electrical boxes and outlets destroyed, the stage and the bridge leading across Davis Run had boards and support posts removed and thrown into the stream. The barbecue pit owned by the Grampian Lions Club had approximately six cement blocks smashed out of it and playground equipment was damaged.
“It’s just ridiculous what was done there,” Carns said. He did not have a cost estimate available. He said all of the items can be repaired; however, local contractors’ schedules are backed up and it is unknown how long it will take to find someone to make the repairs.
Grampian Borough Council President William Waterloo said his opinion is whoever did the damage made a plan to do it.
“It’s just a shame. I don’t think it was incidental and necessarily young people. The thoroughness of the the vandalism was done with malice and forethought. Whoever did it set out to do the damage. I believe they knew what they were going to do before they came in,” Waterloo noted.
He said he considers the park to be an area facility used by residents of the borough and Penn and Bloom townships. “It is not just Grampian’s park. It’s an area park for the community,” he said.
The state police investigated the incident and a damages claim has been filed with the borough’s insurance provider.
Wescott said the committee has scheduled a meeting for Thursday, April 15 where members will determine if the festival is able to move forward.