60 hearses gather in Hell despite festival cancellation
HELL, Mich. (AP) — More than 60 hearses converged in Hell over the weekend despite a Michigan township’s cancellation of the annual hearse festival.
Hearse Fest organizer Frank Hedeen told The Livingston Daily that the festival was canceled last month after Putnam Township officials denied the festival a permit amid concerns about traffic and parking congestion.
The township limits outdoor assemblies to no more than 750 people. Festival organizers had predicted that the event could attract more than 900 people and could have broken the Guinness World Record for most hearses in a procession. A group from the Netherlands currently holds the record at 107 hearses.
Hedeen said the festival has rarely applied for a permit despite running for nearly two decades.
“This would have been our 17th year,” Hedeen said, who is also the founder of the Just Hearse’n Around Hearse Club. “We never knew we needed permits . The township doesn’t want us there. Why did they wait until now to say something? This is a slap in the face.”
The township’s board must approve permits within at least 90 days of an event, said Dennis Brennan, who became the township supervisor last year.
Local business owner John Colone applied for a permit for the festival last year, which officials granted.
Despite this year’s cancellation, more than 750 spectators and hearse collectors came to Hell for a wedding linked to the Just Hearse’n Around Hearse Club.
Livingston County Sheriff’s Office deputies were on hand to monitor parking and traffic.
This story has been corrected to show that the organizer’s name is Frank Hedeen, not Frank Hendeen.
Information from: Livingston Daily Press & Argus, http://www.livingstondaily.com