RiverFest and beer

The question of allowing the sale or consumption of beer and light wine (wine coolers) at special events on city property is expected to be on the August meeting agenda of the New Albany Board of Aldermen.

Examples of such events cited by city officials include arts receptions or exhibit openings at the Union County Heritage Museum or events such as wedding receptions at the Civic Center.

What was not mentioned, but we think is the real driving force in considering the change now, is the desire by some to add beer sales in confined areas at RiverFest.

First, let us remind you that we have been a strong supporter of the legalization of beer and alcohol sales in the city. It’s part of business for restaurants and hotels and prevents thousands of dollars in tax revenue from flowing to other cities. There have been few, if any, problems caused by the change.

And we are OK with the proposal to allow beer and light wine on public property, as long as it is confined to ticketed and closely controlled events.

RiverFest, in our mind, is a different issue. RiverFest, and even the concerts at RiverFest, have been a family-oriented affair with many small children—sort of a family reunion for our whole city and county. That formula has worked and has been financially successful.

We’re not in favor of changing the tenor of RiverFest to please what we are confident is a very small minority of festival-goers. It doesn’t need any aspect of a frat party or a good-ole-boy (or girl) beer bust. Those of us who drink have ample opportunities elsewhere.

Tell your alderman to say no to alcohol at RiverFest.