SARANAC LAKE - The village Board of Trustees voted Monday to approve a park use permit for Hobofest, but only after board members assured a fellow trustee that the park next to the village's railroad station won't become a haven for train-jumping tramps.
The third annual Hobofest is scheduled to take place Sunday, Sept. 4 on the lawn between the Union Depot and the 7444 art gallery. The event is a free, all-day, railroad-themed outdoor music festival. Several hundred people attended last year's Hobofest.
At Monday night's meeting, Trustee Allie Pelletieri said the organizers' application for a park use permit was lacking a state Health Department certification for food vendors as well as an insurance certificate.
But he was more concerned about bringing a bunch of hobos to the park.
"I'm not sure exactly what a hobofest is, but when I looked up hobo in the Webster's dictionary it said, 'tramp,'" Pelletieri said. "In another dictionary, the Funk and Wagnalls standard dictionary, it said, 'a migratory unskilled workmen, a professional idler, a tramp, a vagrant.'
"When comparing that to our master plan, I'm not sure if something like that fits into what our goals were in the future. I'm also wondering, if these hobos don't have a place to stay, if they're going to camp out there, which I don't think is allowed in the park."
Trying hard to contain his laughter, Trustee John McEneany said he didn't believe there would be any actual hobos at the event.
"There's no homeless people there," Trustee Tom Catillaz chimed in. "They are people that you see every day. It is just simply a music festival. It's pretty cool."
"Well that clears up that," Pelletieri responded. He said he was OK with approving the park use request if the village is provided with the necessary certificates.
The resolution was approved unanimously.