Dealing with the most important issues with the utmost perspective and common sense, as bureaucrats are wont to do, the city of Boca Raton, Fla. has decided to nix an annual neighborhood Halloween performance which would have benefited The Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Rick Newman has been holding a Halloween extravaganza on his lawn for the past four years, including elaborate lawn displays and a light show. This year, 30 volunteer dancers were set to perform Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on the lawn, until the city found out.
Newman has been attracting hundreds of visitors with a high-tech Halloween display for the past four years, but on Monday the city delivered a letter saying that the dancers and emailed fliers make the show a commercial activity, and that’s forbidden in a residential neighborhood.
“Fundamentally, what he’s doing is not customarily associated with residential use,” Deputy City Manager George Brown said. “Performing live dance shows on the property and inviting people into the neighborhood via advertising qualify it as commercial activity.”
Newman will be fined $1,000 for the performance, and perhaps up to $5,000 for repeated violations, according to the city. Understandably, Newman wonders why a neighborhood-sanctioned activity held on his private property on which he makes no money qualifies as “commercial.”
“This isn’t commercial. A yard sale would be more commercial than this,” he said. “I don’t make a penny off of it. In fact, it costs me a lot every year. All the money we get goes to sick and dying kids.”
He’s appealed to the city, and hopes the show will go on.