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Every year, the  Kennett Square Mushroom Festival puts a positive focus on the borough. It's no coincidence the festival is one of the top 10 in the nation. Year after year, it's been well run and essentially crime-free.

That's why we were disheartened to learn that the festival car show was hit with claims it was tainted. A lime green Olds Cutlass owned by Danny Sheets of Kennett Square won the coveted Best of Show and several other awards even though other car enthusiasts who participated said there were much better cars that deserved to win.

 Anyone who attended the car show knows there were other cars that easily could have won, the most notable being a 1964 Ford Mustang with only 100 miles on the odometer. But the voting is done by popular vote and that can get subjective. We need only point to major league baseball's annual All-Star game, were fans stuff the ballot box with votes for their favorite players.

After all, we're in a democracy, and if every vote counts, shouldn't that be determining factor? Sheets may have encouraged his family and friends and co-workers to come to the car show, but he certainly did nothing wrong.

We were encouraged by some people not to run the article you see on page one. It casts a negative light on the most popular event in Kennett Square. But we live in a free society, and our mission is to give our readers all the news in an unbiased and accurate fashion. And that's what we have done.

Perhaps it's the process that needs changing. Kathi Lafferty, Mushroom Fair coordinator, said there would no longer be prizes issued at future car shows. That may solve the problem, but it could inhibit car owners from coming to the shows. Bob Blittersdorf, who has a car shop in Kennett Square, said he is "99 percent sure" it won't affect the number of entries next year.

We hope so.

Maybe Mushroom Festival officials can re-think this ugly situation and come up with a solution like hosting a panel of judges. Something must be done. The Mushroom Festival is too fine a event to have it stained.

We feel it's hard to keep volunteers accountable. The Mushroom Festival volunteers give their time freely to the community. As Lafferty said, they really do the best they can.

At Monday's Kennett Square council meeting, one councilor suggested that the borough look into acquiring some kind of national recognition for Lafferty, because of all the work she has done for the festival. Now that's a motion we would second in a heartbeat. Meanwhile, let's not let this taint our fine festival.

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