CLEVELAND - Cleveland Hopkins International Airport’s attempt to bring a little cheer to holiday travelers is facing a bit of backlash.
The airport is holding its first “holiday concessions decorating” contest for concessions and airlines who lease space at the ticketing counters, giving a grand prize of a trophy and bragging rights to the winner.
However, there is one line in the rules for the contest that has some feeling less than cheerful.
The line reads, “The Theme is Winter Wonderland. There should be no reference to any one specific holiday celebration whether religious or secular. Stay within the theme of Winter Wonderland.”
For Councilman Zack Reed, it is political correctness gone too far.
“We’re talking about a small minority of individuals that believe that we should not be saying Merry Christmas. The vast majority of Americans, the vast majority of Clevelanders, believe we should be saying Merry Christmas,” Reed said.
While most airline vendors would not speak on-camera about the airport’s directive, passengers said they didn’t initially notice the lack of “Merry Christmas” among the decorated trees and inflatable snowmen.
Cleveland-Hopkins spokeswoman Michele Dynia said businesses were not required to participate in the contest. Dynia sent News 5 the following statement:
As an international airport we welcome guests from throughout the world, representing a variety of cultures and beliefs. This is a wonderful time of year, and there are many reasons to celebrate. The airport created two non-mandatory holiday decoration competitions, one for the airlines and one for our concessions. Contest guidelines follow the same principles as our Interfaith Center inside our terminal, focusing on inclusion and acceptance for all.
We encourage everyone to tastefully decorate for the season at their own discretion, and with consideration for their organizations and customers.