New Delray Beach rules cause some festivals to leave town

Posted at 7:57 PM, Aug 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-06 06:11:17-04

First Garlic Fest. Now, four more popular events are leaving Delray Beach

They drew large crowds from across the country, even around the world, for everything from garlic ice cream to boutique wines.

Now, Garlic Fest and the Delray Beach Wine and Seafood Fest are packing up and leaving Delray Beach. Three craft festivals are as well.

“It's very upsetting, I love all the festivals,” said Diane Upson, of Boca Raton.

For four years, the Delray Beach Wine and Seafood Fest lined A1A. But because the city was slow to approve this year's application, organizers canceled.

“It is not an attempt to ban, as some have characterized it, festivals in Delray,” said Donald Cooper, the city manager.

He told us the city created a new policy limiting the number of special events to one a month because neighbors complained about street closures and traffic.

“They bring a great many people into the community but at the same time there's also an inconvenience that occurs and you try to balance that,” explained Cooper.

Jestena Boughton's family bought the Colony Hotel and Cabana Club in 1935.

“We're on an upswing now, which is really nice,” said Jestena.

She says her hotel will not be hurt by the loss of the festivals because they happen during the busy season. But she says some festivals are welcome additions to a city rated "the most fun small town in America". Just not too many.

“I think it was a nice idea to have a Delray Food and Wine Festival,” said Jestena.

Delray Beach Food and Wine Fest organizers say they're exploring whether to hold the festival in Delray Beach next year or in another city.