CAVE-IN-ROCK, IL (KFVS)
A new event at a controversial Hardin County Campground has local authorities gearing up for what may come and trying to figure out how to pay for it.
The Hog Rock Campground is hosting at least four major events in 2011:
- Hog Rock Biker Rally June 9 - 12
- Freaky Tiki Underground Sound 7 Rave July 21 - 24
- ICP Gathering of the Juggalos August 11 - 14
- Hog Rock Oktoberfest October 6 - 9
Each event brings thousands of out-of-towner visitors into a county of only about 4,320. County officials say providing emergency services for events that at least double the county's population proves costly.
"Our hospitals take a beating, our ambulance takes a beating and my department's taking a beating," said Hardin County Sheriff Lloyd Cullison. "We're in a budget crunch anyway."
This weekend, the sheriff's staffed extra deputies for the first-ever-rave at the Hog Rock Campground, and has nearby departments and Illinois State Police on standby.
The Freaky Tiki Underground Sound 7 event kicked off Thursday. With temperatures soaring and heat indexes at extreme levels, county officials worry about what the weekend may bring.
"I'm hopeful there aren't any heat-related deaths out there, but it certainly could happen," said Hardin County Commissioner Wayne Eichorn.
"I do have concerns about the heat," said event promoter Evan Clark with Catalytic Souls we have truck loads of ice and water we're pretty much giving it away keeping people hydrated. We have mist tents so there are plenty of ways for people to stay cool."
Clark says he thinks this weekend's event, expected to draw 2500-3500 people may be tamer than events Hardin County has seen in the past.
"It's very rare that we've had an ambulance or injuries or anything happen at our events," Clark said. "Most of our crowd is a calm, fun, young crowd. We don't have the problems you'll see at large rock shows or biker rallies."
Still Sheriff Cullison says as the list of large-scale events at Hog Rock Campground continues to grow, the patience of tax payers picking up the tab for extra staffing is growing thin.
"The county has pretty well went from a tolerant stage to an angry stage," said Cullison. "They're tired of seeing money go out of my department, the ambulance service and hospital and us not getting anything in return."