Church overwhelmed by support after cookie flap

Crackdown confusion leads to apology

INDIANAPOLIS - An Indianapolis church is thanking supporters after the city shut down its youth group's sales of hot cocoa and cookies.

Friday's sales during the Circle of Lights lighting ceremony on Monument Circle were halted as part of a sweep of unauthorized food vendors. A city ordinance requires permits for sidewalk vendors during downtown events.

Indianapolis Downtown Inc. had called officers to investigate after a vendor was seen wandering through the crowd trying to sell light-up trinkets.

"You have 100,000 people down here on Monument Circle. It's considered a clean zone, it's a civic event. And so we want to protect the spectators and the folks who are coming down here not to be interrupted by unauthorized vendors," Bob Schultz with IDI said.

Christ Church Cathedral Rector Stephen Carlsen said Monday that the church supports effort to keep public events from becoming a "free for all of questionable vendors" but hopes to be part of discussions about how public spaces can be used.

The group fell about $400 short of its normal sales. Indianapolis Downtown Inc. apologized to the church and has offered to make up the difference in lost sales.

Carlsen says the church has been overwhelmed by support since the incident. Church officials said they will make sure to get the proper permit next year.

Church members said they have had generous offers not only from IDI, but other businesses and groups as well to help them make up the difference in lost sales.

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