Restaurants planning string of park festivals

Diekroeger Park, Wright City
Adam Rollins
Staff Writer

The owners of Deerfield’s on Main and Papu’s Cuban Cafe in downtown Warrenton are planning to bring some new activity to surrounding communities with a series of park festivals starting in Truesdale and Wright City.

Bob Truetken of Deerfield’s and Maria Beyer of Papu’s said they hope to hold their first “Food and Wine Festival” at Bruer Park in Truesdale on Oct. 24. They approached the city’s board of aldermen last week to discuss their plans.

“Basically what we want to do is rent the whole park,” said Truetken. That will be a first for the business owners and for Truesdale, which opened Bruer Park in 2018.

“The idea is to start bringing people to Truesdale,” Truetken said. “We want to bring focus to Truesdale because it’s a growing community.”

Many of the details are still being arranged, but the restaurant owners are in the process of recruiting other food providers and plan to have live music, various attractions and booths for visitors to enjoy.

Half of the net profits collected from the festival will be donated to charity, Beyer said.

What remains is for the plans to be finalized and the city of Truesdale to decide what it needs to charge to rent the park. The organizers said they’re happy to pay for support services and police presence from the city.

Truesdale officials said they will be happy to see a festival in the park, and will quickly work out the details of the arrangement.

“We’re definitely all really excited for it. We just have to iron out a few of the little details,” said Mayor Chris Watson.

The restaurant owners also contacted Wright City to begin making arrangements for a similar festival in Diekroeger Park on Nov. 7.

Wright City Mayor Dan Rowden said city leaders would be interested in sitting down with the restaurant owners to plan a successful and well organized event.

Beyer said she and Truetken also plan to approach the city of Marthasville to begin planning another park event for sometime next year.

Of course, with the lurking threat of coronavirus, Beyer said they understand the festivals might end up being canceled. But if all goes well, the two owners hope to make the festivals ongoing annual events that will highlight what local towns have to offer.

“The point is to bring awareness to what we have here,” Beyer commented.

Fallout with Warrenton

The series of festival proposals comes after Beyer had a falling out with the city of Warrenton over an application to host a street festival on Main Street in October. Beyer’s permit for the event was denied over her refusal to pay a refundable cleanup deposit prior to approval.

Warrenton aldermen also passed new rules this month that add new steps to getting a Main Street festival approved. Beyer said it felt like the city was intentionally making it more difficult for her to serve food and host activities outside her restaurant on Main Street.

“This is hard for me to say ... the city seems to not want me here anymore. I’ll be looking to leave downtown and take my business, taxes and customers elsewhere when my lease is up in the fall,” Beyer told the aldermen July 21.

Warrenton Mayor Eric Schleuter countered that city staff have tried to provide information for Beyer to hold her events. He said Beyer had been unfairly argumentative with city staff at public meetings.

“It does seem like you’re picking a fight with us,” Schleuter told her. “When we have processes in place, we have to hold to those processes. There’s nothing that we said, ‘Maria, this is for you. We’re going to come against you.’”

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