Updated: Jul 14, 2019
Most of you are aware of the most recent run ins with the brand new Sheriff's Department in Sneedville at To The Moon this year. If you didn't hear, well...... let's just say the new Sheriff made it clear he did not want us there. Unfortunately, when something new and different comes into a small town, it causes some ripples and we have received some push back. In the past, we felt confident that our presence in Sneedville was encouraged based on our good relationship with the previous Sheriff and the Chestnut Ridge Fire Department. What we have learned is that in order to move forward and continue to grow, we need to reach more of the general population of locals. Much of rural America has no idea what Burning Man is or the creative culture that comes along with it. They take what limited information they have and let their imaginations run wild. From the outside looking in, burning effigies, howling at the moon and communal love for the Earth ---- translates to "witchcraft, drug orgies" , somehow.
🌙 So, in order to bring more transparency and education to the locals of Sneedville and therefore mend our relationship with the current politics, your BOD decided it was best to start with showing face at the City Council Meeting - the first one since To The Moon. Andrea, Gabi and Wes showed up and made up about half of the meeting's attendance. We had no idea if they were going to bring up our 'little party on the river' or not but we were prepared to speak up for ourselves. ------ They pretty much gave us the floor for the entire second half. It was absolutely necessary for us to be there!
🌙 Wes began by apologizing for any of the locals that were affected by the roadblocks and went to explain the severity of the harassment we experienced. Turns out, most of the people that were arrested were locals, not burners.
🌙 We then proceeded to talk about the nature of our Burn, the history of To The Moon's presence in Sneedville, and what we have contributed to the community :
🌱 TTM brings 1000 people into the city of Sneedville which stimulates the economy & tourism
🌱 We've donated money and assistance to the school's art department
🌱 We've collectively raised enough money to buy a BRAND NEW FIRE TRUCK for the Chestnut Ride Fire Dept.
🌱 We've began beautification projects at local parks
🌱 We Clean Up the River!! & the land
🌱 Wes is helping to fundraise for a local family - Ben & Brandy Hopkins Benefit
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 FEEDBACK FROM OFFICIALS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
💡The Mayor seemed very supportive of our event and mentioned "anything that brings people in to Hancock Co. is a good thing for us".
💡Local Press wants to write really positive articles about To The Moon in the Eagle news and the Discover Hancock magazine!
💡The President of the Chamber of Commerce was straight up with us about our current reputation in the community being negative and basically wanted to gather all the information he could so that he could help us gain better PR - The Sheriff will act on what he thinks the people of Sneedville want .... so we gotta reach the people.
🌈 We asked about ways that To The Moon can contribute & give back to the Sneedville community - here's what we can help with! 🌈
- Fundraiser for Elrod Falls maintenance project - building bridges for safer access
- New Pavilion for public park after case of severe vandalism
- Beautifying the public park - adding more activity infrastructure (swings, slides, splash pad)
- Donations to animal shelter
- Attending Fall Festival and educating the public about our Regional Burn!
Want to give back ?
*We will be collecting donations for food and clothes and animal shelter needs throughout the next few months
*Stay tuned for an online Boot Drive for our favorite Fire Department!!