Organizers of the first-ever "*****house Days" festival in Gilbert had big plans: a four-poster bed race, a beer mug-sliding contest, a showdown for best-dressed madam.
Now, they're looking for a lawyer, after the City Council's refusal to rent out public buildings effectively killed the festival that was supposed to start this weekend in the small northern Minnesota town.
Almost one-third of the city's businesses signed a petition against the event and dozens of residents protested at council meetings.
"The City Council's acting like it's the Moral Majority or something," said lead organizer Bob Cap. "They really played a number on us."
Gilbert Mayor Bob Garrity said the council did nothing wrong. Council members weren't satisfied with the answers they got when they questioned organizers about the event, he said.
The organizers, Gilbert After Hours, Inc., plan to try again next summer. Meanwhile, they are looking for a lawyer. Their Web site said they want an attorney who is "not afraid of (or connected to) the city government of Gilbert."
The weekend festival, which also was to include a performance of "The Best Little *****house in Gilbert," had attracted almost $50,000 in sponsorships and area hotels were starting to fill up with reservations. Organizers had promised all the events would have been rated G or PG.
Gilbert's history actually includes a period when it was known as a place of saloons and prostitution, in the early years of the 20th century when mining and timber-cutting were in full swing. But Cap acknowledged the name was picked as a marketing tool.
"We figured the shock value would cause some people to say, 'Hey, let's go check that out.'"