Troy Daze's cost to the city isn't the only thing that's inflated. Troy Daze itself has inflated. If the City of Troy turned-back the clock 35 years it might rediscover both what Troy Daze used to be, and how affordable it might be.
If I can claim to have grown up anywhere it is "The City of Tomorrow... Today!" Our family moved to Troy from Livonia in 1973 when I was only eight years old. I went to Martell and Schroeder Elementary Schools, Boulan Park Middle School, and graduated from Troy High in 1983.
Our house near Wattles (17 Mile for you outsiders) and Coolidge was within easy walking distance to Boulan Park where Troy Daze was held. On the way to the park my friends and I could hunt for Garter snakes along the dirt path that has long since been replaced with another subdivision.
Boulan Park already had baseball diamonds, merry-go-rounds, teeter-totters, monkey bars, and grills for picnicking. But during the three-day festival it also had a fire engine, a police car, an ambulance, tug-of-war, pick-up softball games, and an extra few thousand people.
My favorite thing about the fair was the free (as far as I knew) Kentucky-Fried Chicken. It turned out that one of our neighbors owned a KFC franchise and he provided the chicken to promote his business and addict me to its 11 herbs and spices.
Each year the festival seemed to add something. I remember once there were helicopter rides. I couldn't afford them with my paper-route money, but I had a lot of fun watching it take off and land, and wondered how great it would be to afford the $15 ticket for a 10-minute ride.
Later years added carnival rides. I remember my brother's first ride on the salt-and-pepper shaker. I was too young to ride it myself, but watched with amazement as the ride took my brother Charlie into the air, held him upside down with his school buddies, then swung back to the ground like an upside-down metronome.
Looking back, as a kid, I was just as amazed watching the adults play softball and eating my neighbor's chicken. As I got older I looked forward more to having more freedom to go to the festival on my own, and with my friends, stay a little later, and walk home in the dark, than I was to new attractions.
The festival improved each year not because it changed, but because I changed.
Maybe the City of Tomorrow should remember the City of Yesterday, and be reminded that childhood brings its own magic to the park. It's not necessary for the city to spend Disney-sized dollars for a three-day picnic and softball game.
In an effort to out-do itself each year, Troy has finally found that it has out-done itself into suspending the event for lack of money. Perhaps the citizens of Troy could simply pack a mitt and a cooler, and take the family to the park. Would it really cost the city too much money to park a police car and fire truck and give the kids a chance to sound the siren or horn?
Sure, it may only amuse children, but surely they're the most easily and inexpensively amused.
I know I was.