This piece was written in 1999 near the end of the Hobo Council’s battle with the Britt Chamber of Commerce over keeping the Hobo Convention authentic. The Chamber wanted to let citizens dressed up like Hoboes to run for Hobo King. The Hobo Council demanded that only authentic Hoboes who had been screened by the council to run. What was at stake was the ‘soul’ of the Hobo Convention!
Ultimately the Hobo Council prevailed. But much work was needed to repair the Hoboes relationship with the town of Britt.
This article was a first step toward respecting and working together to build a more authentic Hobo Convention and a stronger Britt Hobo Days celebration.
"Step back for a moment and take a look at what the National Hobo Convention is all about.
First you start with a collection of strong-minded, self-reliant personalities who represent every imaginable opposing faction in traditional society
Then you pack them together on a patch of Earth no larger than a city block for five intense days with the expectation that they will get along with each other as one big happy family.
Now, make it a celebration of personal freedom from the toils and responsibilities of the 'work-a-day' world; and do it in a small, hard working, conservative town in Iowa.
And expect a hero's welcome from the town along with food, shelter, bathrooms, firewood, showers, etc.
Awesome, huh? Yet it's been going on for 99 years! There's more:
Mix in a healthy fear of 'Big City' crime coming to town with a small group of local/bum troublemakers and the usual calls for the cancellation of the event.
Then have the Mayor stand-up in front of the City Council and the public and choke back tears as he described his lifelong friendship with a hobo and his commitment to continue the event.
And now we're all talking about going for another 100 years!
That's LOVE…from the Hoboes and the Town! And with all the activities the Hobo Council and the Town are planning for this year’s convention, I'd say it is a whole lotta love!
But there's trouble too! And this year we need to re-invent the Hobo Convention in a way that stops all the 'politics', the drunkenness, disrespect, conflict, etc. and focus on creating more of what we love.
It doesn't have to be that hard! “
Source: brothers & sisters newsletter, Written and published by Adman Waters, spokesman for the Hobo Council, January 1999