Street Performer Series fire rules expected by Thursday
Juggler Will Oltman juggles fire for the amazement of onlookers in downtown Holland on July 7, 2012. Oltman is part of the Holland Street Performer Series
No decisions were finalized at a Monday meeting to discuss the use of fire in the popular downtown Holland Street Performer Series, but new rules should be in place for this week's Thursday night activities, coinciding with downtown Holland’s first Fourth of July celebration.
“We hope to have everything in order by Wednesday,” said Holland Department of Public Safety Chief Matt Messer.
The use of fire in performances was temporarily banned for safety reasons last week after Messer observed juggler Will Oltman’s routine, which includes juggling three flaming torches. Messer felt the audience was too close to Oltman and the routine posed possible dangers to those observing.
Oltman has performed in the series for six years, the last two with fire. A permit is required to perform extraordinary activities during the series, including using fire. Oltman questioned why he could use fire for the past two years with a spotter, an extinguisher and wet rags but it became a problem this year.
Denser crowds downtown have caused officials to reexamine safety restrictions for series.
Oltman isn’t scheduled to perform Thursday, but last week he incorporated a song into his routine to explain to his audience why he couldn’t use fire. The audience booed the temporary restriction.
Messer said he and the others involved in Monday’s meeting discussed a safe zone and spotter requirements.
“We will be allowing them to use fire but in a safer environment and manner than in the past,” he said, adding the performers who use fire will be notified of the new rules once they are in place.
Downtown Development Authority Board or City Council approval is not necessary for safety restrictions, Messer said.
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