Town readies for Minus Zero Festival
by Lauren Harkawik
Feb 26, 2018 | 2675 views | 0 0 comments | 86 86 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Minus Zero Festival drew thousands to Stratton Mountain in 2017.  The event will be held at Mount Snow in April.
The Minus Zero Festival drew thousands to Stratton Mountain in 2017. The event will be held at Mount Snow in April.
DOVER - At the Dover Selectboard’s meeting Tuesday evening, the board and town officers discussed logistical considerations and preparations for the upcoming Minus Zero Festival, which will be held at Mount Snow for the first time this year and is estimated to bring upward of 6,000 people to the valley on April 6, 7, and 8.

Police chief Randy Johnson said he was initially concerned about the festival, which has a core audience of 18- to 25-year-olds, and he has been working closely with Tim Dolan at Mount Snow as well as Winhall Police Chief Jeffrey Whitesell, who oversaw police operations for the festival when it was held at Stratton in previous years.

“(Whitesell) told me what worked, what recommendations he would make to make it a better and safe event,” said Johnson. “He said that if they decided to go back to Stratton they’d be more than happy to have it back.”

Johnson said that in addition to Dover’s police force, Winhall and Wilmington police officers will assist and Vermont State Police will have officers patrolling Route 100 and Route 9.

Johnson said that at the recommendation of fire chief Rich Werner, Keene Mutual Aid will also be there.

“They’re going to come over and set up a radio base station on the second floor of the Discovery Center, which is where our command post will be,” said Johnson.

Johnson said he’d heard from Whitesell that in Winhall, the music was fairly loud. “I’m not sure what that’s going to do with the way it comes down the valley here but we’ll see how it is,” said Johnson. “We’ve never had an event like this in town so we’ll see how it goes and if we have to make adjustments for the following year we will.”

Dolan said in addition to a police presence, the department of liquor control will be present, and the festival has contracted with a private security firm as well.

“Their ratio will be in the one-to-100 range,” said Dolan. “It will be a very large security force throughout the venue.”

Both Johnson and Werner were very complimentary of Dolan, noting that he has been diligent throughout the planning process. Werner said he has an outstanding fireworks permit request for the festival that he’d like board input on.

“It’s for 11 pm, which I’m not comfortable with,” said Werner. “The reason I’m bringing it to you guys is that it’s out of the norm. It’s a special event and it’s supposed to be good for economic development, so I don’t know if I should give them a one-time exemption. Maybe for the 15 minutes it’s worthwhile, maybe people want to have late-night fireworks. In Newfane we used to do them at midnight for field days in July and people used to really enjoy that. The locals would come out and watch them. So I’m not sure. That’s why we want to get it out there so the public has some input.”

Werner said he will ask town administrator Jeannette Eckert to put the matter on the agenda for the board’s next meeting, scheduled for March 20, to get public and board input.
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