17th Annual Hearse Fest In Hell Could Happen, Regardless Of Permit
September 14, 2018
**This story has been updated to include a statement from Putnam Township Supervisor Dennis Brennan, which is attached.
The 17th Annual Hearse Fest in Hell this Saturday is technically canceled, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen anyway.
The event typically features food, vendors and a parade of hearses. This year marked a chance to break the Guinness World Record for the most hearses in procession. Although the novelty event draws thousands, it also causes massive traffic problems for residents and others traveling through the tiny hamlet, further generating complaints from a nearby lake community. Putnam Township maintains event organizers were told last year that they needed a permit to host the event but failed to do so. Organizers dispute that but have technically “cancelled” the event. However, there is no way to actually stop people from coming. The event website states “there is no official event happening but come see the hearses or drive one to Hell. Township ordinance requires a permit for any event with 750 people or more. A ticket could be issued to event organizers, which would result in a $100 fine for the first violation.
Treasurer Pat Carney says the amount of traffic makes it nearly impossible for residents in the area to get around, which also raises safety concerns. Carney says the township will enforce its ordinance to the best of its ability. He stresses they are not trying to ruin anyone’s fun but the problems need to be addressed and potential changes made in order for the event to ultimately continue.
A traffic control order has been approved by the Livingston County Road Commission that will be in effect today, Saturday and Sunday and temporarily prohibits parking on Patterson Lake Road. No stopping, standing or parking signs will be put up on Patterson Lake Road from Kelly Road to a point just east of Silver Hill Road. Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy tells WHMI he’s disappointed event organizers did not get the appropriate permits, adding the whole idea behind doing so is to make sure the event is as safe as possible. He says the Sheriff’s Office will have a presence at the event and will tow vehicles if necessary, although that is not something they want to do. Attempts by WHMI to reach event organizers were unsuccessful. Facebook photo. (JM)