Militia’s gunfire at holiday fest sparks complaints
The sharp report of musketfire has long been one of the most recognizable sounds at the Warren Holiday Festival. But the Warren Town Council will hold a special hearing on that gunfire Tuesday night after complaints came in about the volume of the Federal Blues militia members’ weapons.
The council will hold a special hearing to help come to consensus on the gunfire after several parents complained that the sound of gunfire fired by the Baker Street outfit, organized in 1798, scared their young children.
Holiday festival organizer Marilyn Mathison said she has heard similar reports in the past and last year asked Federal Blues members to reduce the number of shots they fire; she was surprised to hear Monday that council member had called a special meeting (7:45 p.m. at Warren Town Hall) to discuss the issue. She didn’t reach out to the Blues this year but did hear from several members about the issue.
“It shouldn’t have come to this,” she said Monday. “This should have just been me, the Federal Blues and the parent coming to an agreement.”
The Federal Blues’ Ed Hebert could not be reached for comment Monday morning. But Ms. Mathison said she worked out an agreement with militia members last year that, after earlier complaints, they would only fire their weapons once on Water and again on Main Street. She asked that the weapons not be fired adjacent to the portico at town hall, as the concussion can damage audio equipment, and also because it scared members of the high school chorus, who sing at the lighting ceremony on the town hall steps.
“I never said no firing of guns,” she said. “I told them years ago not just to shoot willy nilly on Baker Street. That should have been it.”
Though she agreed that the weapons can be loud, Ms. Mathison said she does not want to restrict the Blues’ tradition and said she’s hopeful an agreement that everyone can live with will be reached in time for the festival, which starts Friday evening.