Lack of help causes annual Brady Lake festival to cancel

Sara Hoffman

The Village of Brady Lake, located about three and a half miles from campus, has celebrated its heritage with its Capt. Brady’s Day festival each summer for more than three decades.

This year, however, there will be no festival.

“I’ve already heard a lot of people asking why it isn’t (taking place),” Brady Lake Mayor Hal Lehman said.

He blamed the cancellation of the event on a lack of help.

“It takes a whole week to set up,” Lehman said. “It’s been the same eight to 10 people every year for the past few years.”

The event is named for Capt. Samuel Brady, who jumped about 22 feet over the Cuyahoga River, then hid in the lake – which now bears his name – to hide from a group of American Indians.

Les Bennet, who has been a main organizer for the event, said Capt. Brady’s Day began with an attempt by the Lake Brady Association to unite the residents of both sides of the lake with something they had in common. The heritage of the lake seemed to be a good choice.

Several of the early Capt. Brady’s Day festivals included a re-enactment of Brady hiding in the lake.

There have been three other cancellations of Capt. Brady’s Day in the last 35 years, Lehman said, but not for this reason.

Since the first Capt. Brady’s Day in 1972, Bennet has taken the lead. Despite a stroke in 1983 and struggles with his health that led to cancellations in 1986 and 1987, he has continued to organize the event.

“(Bennet) has put in what must be thousands of hours,” Lehman said.

The problem this year, however, wasn’t Bennet’s health, but the lack of help he received with planning the event.

Bennet said planning often starts as early as the previous fall because music, food, games and other activities all have to be provided.

Watermelon seed spitting contests, a children’s John Deer tractor race, a dunking tank and the firefighter’s 50/50 raffle are just a few of the activities Lehman said need to be organized. He said someone also has to organize the floats for the parade that marches around the lake.

Lehman and Bennet both said they hope Capt. Brady’s Day will go on as planned next year, possibly combining with the carnival sponsored by the Brady Lake Fire Department.

Bennet said he was unsure of his own involvement in planning and running next year’s event because he thinks the festival needs new direction.

“I may be (involved),” he said. “Maybe not.”

Contact news correspondent Sara Hoffman at [email protected].