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    Pow Wow will take a one-year break

    By MAUREEN BYRNE

    © St. Petersburg Times, published October 20, 2000


    SEMINOLE -- Organizers of the Seminole Pow Wow, the city's largest annual festival, have canceled next year's event because of the construction project at the recreation center.

    Members of the volunteer committee that organizes the March event voted Wednesday to hold off a year rather than put on a smaller version of the Pow Wow somewhere else.

    "We would have had to downgrade it," said Harold "Doc" Kinsey, chairman of the festival committee.

    The Pow Wow, which began as a chicken dinner in 1967 to raise money for the then-all-volunteer Seminole Fire Department and a stadium at Seminole High School, now includes a parade, entertainment, carnival rides, fireworks and arts and crafts vendors. Up to 10,000 people attend the annual event.

    Kinsey said the committee considered other venues, such as Seminole Mall, Seminole High School and Seminole City Park. But none would have worked, he said.

    The mall parking lot is not large enough for all the activities and there are no available electric outlets and water sources for food vendors, he said. The same is true for the high school, he said.

    Because the city sponsors the event, it provides access to water and electricity for vendors.

    City Park is not a possibility either, because it will be in the midst of a renovation project, said Harry Kyne, the city's director of administration.

    Kyne said the new recreation building and parking lot is scheduled to be complete in January. However, in March, workers will be renovating the existing center and parking lots and building a pool.

    The entire project is scheduled to be done by May 15, he said.

    "They've done a wonderful job with it every year," Kyne said. "I'm sure people will be disappointed."

    Kinsey said organizers hope to add auxiliary events to the 2002 Seminole Pow Wow. Perhaps a bingo night and a basketball tournament between sheriff's deputies and the city's firefighters, he said.

    "This gives us over a year of planning," he said.

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