NORWAY — Fudafest organizer Aaron Fuda said he has abided by the rules of the town’s outdoor festival ordinance and doesn’t understand why the town would try to get a temporary restraining order against him to shut down his annual gathering.

“I played by their rules and only allowed 200 tickets to be available,” said Fuda in an e-mail to the Sun Journal. ”So I guess I am confused as to why they would need a restraining order as I was not required to get a permit.”

The town sought a temporary restraining order against Fuda in late July when he failed to apply for a permit for his Aug. 1 festival. The order was denied by a Lewiston court judge who questioned why the order was requested only several days before the event.

Police Chief Robert Federico told the Board of Selectmen recently that the delay in attempting to get the order was because police were not sure the festival would be held in Norway this year. “We were trying to figure out what to do,” he said.

Fuda Fest, which is billed as having live local music, drum circles, puppet shows and activism in a clothing-optional environment, is usually held on Fuda’s McKay Road property. This year, he advertised the event as being at a “secret location.” According to his e-mail, it was held on his property.

Town officials are now revising the outdoor festival ordinance after Fuda and another outdoor festival organizer failed to apply for a permit and neither could be prosecuted in court. Under Norway’s 2007 outdoor festival ordinance, organizers of events with 250 or more people must apply for a permit and pay a $100 application fee.

Both Fuda, who held the 18th annual “Fully Unclothed Dancing Activism Festival” to protest unjust laws, particularly marijuana laws, and Yagger Fest organizer George Emerson of Yagger Road say their events did not draw 200 people.

“After band members and security we had maybe 235 but some people did not even show up,” Fuda said. “I would also like to add that every car was parked on my land with room to spare, there were no complaints from neighbors and all the garbage was removed within 24 hours, just as it usually is,” he said.

“All we really care about is how many people (show up) so we don’t get caught short,” said Federico, who has said in the past there have been some neighborhood complaints but no major problems with the festival.

The chief said the primary purpose of the ordinance is to ensure that the town is aware of large group events, such as the Oxford Fair in September and Norway’s annual downtown festival and art show in July. Large group event numbers must be known so that emergency personnel, road crews and others can be prepared in case of a fire, disturbance or other emergency, he said.

Fuda said he doesn’t believe the town would give him a permit even if he applied. “Everyone knows this law was put into place because of Fudafest and it has been dubbed as Fuda Law. We protest unjust laws so their answer is to make more laws.”

Selectmen say this and some other ordinances on the books need updating in order to make them enforceable.

“We have a lot of ordinances that are difficult to enforce,” Selectman Russ Newcomb said to his fellow board members at their Aug. 6 meeting. “I think we need to start trying to enforce some things otherwise some of these ordinances are kind of a joke.”

Fuda said he will continue to protest what he considers to be unjust laws.

“The power of the people will always be stronger than any law so I hope the selectmen feel good about themselves for taking more rights away from the people. This only angers people more. And eventually there will be a breaking point, and it will not be pretty.”

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