There’s apparently new controversy related to an annual event that features a parade of hearses.

Hearsefest was founded by John Colone, Hell’s un-official mayor, and the event has traditionally been held in the tiny Putnam Township hamlet. Colone was said to have canceled the event last year due to permit issues and concerns about traffic and parking but a club of hearse enthusiasts known as Just Hearse’N Around put on an event in Hell anyway last year. Now, Colone says the group and owner Frank Hadeen are using the “Hearsefest” name without permission and on the same day he planned to host the event. An event advertisement on the Just Hearse’N Around Facebook page describes it as “the original & one-and-only Hearsefest” to be held September 21st at the Fowlerville Fairgrounds.

Putnam Township Supervisor Dennis Brennan tells WHMI he’s aware that Frank Hedeen and his club are planning on taking Hearsefest to the Fowlerville Fairgrounds but noted the township is not involved in that dispute. He noted however that the township has not received any application for an outdoor event, which is required whenever 750 people or more are expected to attend. Brennan says in talks with Colone earlier this year, he indicated he was planning to hold the event without the club. Brennan says he expressed event-related concerns and requested Colone submit an application several months in advance so that they could work with him to overcome obstacles and help him to have a successful event. An application must be received no less than 90 days in advance of the event but Brennan says there has been no further communication with Colone so he doesn’t don’t know if an event is planned or not. Brennan added that Colone has been made aware that he will be fined if he promotes the event without obtaining a permit and fined again if he holds the event without a permit.

Hearstfest organizers have since told WHMI that they dispute Colone is the founder of the event and that he has merely served as the host up until last year. They also say that the only reason they have moved it to the Fowlerville Fairgrounds is because of the permit issues with Putnam Township. (JM/JK)