Festival to sell beer in park
Marion City Council approved an ordinance on Monday allowing beer sales and consumption June 7 and 8 during Chingawassa Days.
Chingawassa Days Committee member Dave Crofoot brought the idea of a beer garden to the council. He said the plan for the garden is have a beer drinking area near the shed in the southern section of the park. Participants would not be allowed to take beer cans outside of the area barricaded with a snow fence.
The ordinance only provides an exemption for the periods when beer would be sold. Only 3.2 percent alcohol beer would be sold. Crofoot said the garden can refuse sale to anyone who appears intoxicated. The hours for the garden are set for 7 to 11 p.m. on June 7, or whenever the Friday band finishes playing, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on June 8.
Police Chief Tyler Mermis said he does not expect policing of the event to change because of drinking. He added security has been a point of emphasis at Chingawassa Days Celebrations.
The Chingawassa Committee will hold the liquor license for the event. Crofoot said the committee would cover any insurance cost increases created by allowing alcohol.
Also included in the committee’s plans is to restrict coolers in park with the exception for medical reasons and for baby bottles. Crofoot said the committee presented a proposal to Marion Ministerial Alliance and took suggestions about the operation.
Crofoot said the reason the committee wants the beer garden is to make money. The plan for the garden is to generate at least $5,000; 10 percent of the revenue would go to Marion Advancement Campaign for park bathrooms and the gazebo project. Crofoot said it costs about $60,000 every year to put on the festival. The cost for bands has increased to $30,000 this year. The committee wants to keep ticket prices low.
City Administrator Doug Kjellin cited that drinking is allowed on city property, about six to eight times a year in the Marion Community Center. The Celtic Celebration March 2 was one of those events. Other events are more private, like wedding receptions.
In the meeting, Mayor Mary Olson wanted to table a decision on the beer garden ordinance for the April 1 meeting. Crofoot said it was important to get the ordinance passed because of time concerns.
The city will have to wait another week to publish the ordinance because the ordinance sent to the Marion County Record had incorrect dates.
Interested people on Facebook were in favor of a Beer Garden at Chingawassa Days.
“At least try it,” Jim Bredemeier said.
“As long as people are respectful it shouldn’t be a problem,” Jillyan Berg said.