By Matilyn Ozment
Williamston Post staff writer
Artfest is asking city council to allow alcohol in McCormick Park for the annual event.
Holly Thompson said that ideas have been discussed for ways to make Artfest more successful and adding a wine and beer tent to the festival is one idea.
The plan for the wine and beer tent is to set up after the artists leave so that it will be available for the concerts at night.
“We have bands that play after the artists have packed up, but many people do not stay for them and this will be a way to perhaps attract people to either stay or come down to enjoy the rest of the festival,” said Thompson.
According to city ordinance sec. 6-3, “No alcoholic liquor shall be consumed on the public streets, parks, or in any other public places.”
The ordinance prevents the Artfest from having the beverage vendors during the festival which takes place in McCormick Park.
Event organizers asked the council if there could be an amendment made to the ordinance so alcohol can be allowed in the park for a portion of Artfest.
Michelle Van Wert asked whether such a change would set a precedent for future events.
According to Mayor James DeForest, this is a similar situation that the council discussed, referring to city ordinance 38-3, which was an exception made for alcohol consumption in Deer Creek Park if it is a city-approved community function or a cultural event open to the public and beneficial to downtown.
Alcohol sales could be allowed if McCormick Park were added to the Deer Creek Park ordinance. City council will still have the power to allow events to serve alcohol.
The mayor asked that a draft be prepared for a vote at the next city council meeting.
According to police chief Bob Young, vendors will still have to go through the department to get a permit to serve alcohol and there are restrictions having to do with proximity to Saint Mary’s church.
No further action was taken toward amending the ordinance.