NEWS BLOG (WSAU) When a city has ordinances against public drunkenness or open alcohol containers, some kind of fencing or barrier is needed when alcohol is served outdoors. The event sponsors get a permit, hire licensed bartenders, and provide reasonable security. Then the fence sets the limits. It’s ok to drink here. It isn’t ok outside its boundaries.
The organizers of the BrewFest in downtown Wausau wanted an exemption to the fence. They have live bands playing during their events, and don’t want adult drinkers ‘fenced in’. Their event is a fundraiser to raise money to renovate the 400-block in Downtown Wausau.
I can imagine reasonable exceptions to the “beer garden” ordinance. If an event is in an out-of-the-way location, or an event where there are unlikely to be people who are underage, or if there are special circumstances about time, place, or activity, a waiver might be appropriate.
This event doesn’t meet those criteria. There are likely to be under-age people present. This is not a remote venue where crowd control and alcohol enforcement are easy. There are legitimate public safety concerns with having people who may be drunk near busy downtown streets or wandering into the construction zone at the west end of the square.
I wish the organizers of BrewFest success. But the Wausau City Council made the right choice on the fence.
Operations Manager-Midwest Communications, Wausau