The executive committee of the District 14 Republicans in Eagle River has sent a letter to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, asking him to reconsider the municipality’s decision to withhold permits for the 39th annual Eagle River Bear Paw Festival, scheduled for July 8-12. The letter was also addressed to the Anchorage Assembly and copied to the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce.
“We understand that the most recent Anchorage COVID-19 emergency declaration submitted by Mayor Berkowitz and approved by the Anchorage Assembly has been extended until July 31, 2020. The Administration, however, established a precedent to allow public gatherings, even during this period of emergency declaration. One example is the ongoing Saturday Markets,” the group wrote.
“To disallow the Bear Paw Festival is an inconsistent application of Municipal policy. We would like the same opportunity as others to create a positive community event in Eagle River, one that has huge ramifications for recharging the entire municipality, as well as to help the economy and small businesses to recover,” the letter continued.
The group said that Eagle River would be able to have the beloved festival with appropriate safety measures, and that the Bear Paw Festival is a much-needed break after four months of “hunkering down.”
The letter was signed by Julie Blackley, the chair of GOP District 14.
While the municipality has denied permits for the annual Eagle River event, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz joined hundreds of protesters in Anchorage to express disapproval for police brutality in a Black Lives Matter rally.
Here he was, speaking to protesters at the rally on June 6:
Michael Tavoliero, a Republican activist in Eagle River, said no group seems to be coming forward to defend the economic, social, and spiritual events in communities across the state, whether it’s the State Fair, Mount Marathon, or the Eagle River Bear Paw Festival.
Another group that had trouble getting a permit from the Municipality is a gathering of Christians will come together at the Delaney Park Strip on Friday — the very place where the mayor was speaking on June 6 at an event that had several hundred people at it.
The “Civil Righteousness: Unified Prayer for Racial Healing in Alaska” group said they were finally able to get a permit for their event, planned for Friday at 6 pm, after they promised no more than 500 would attend.