Controversy over alcohol sales at Union Gap Old Town Days

Controversy over alcohol sales at Union Gap Old Town Days »Play Video
UNION GAP, Wash. -- Union Gap's annual festival to celebrate the city's history could come with a twist. Event organizers are pushing for a beer garden.

"A good event doesn't need alcohol as far as I'm concerned, it's a family event," Mayor Jim Lemon said. "Who takes their family to the bar and gets them drunk."

Lemon thinks it's a bad idea because of the event's new location.
It will be on Main Street and in the Valley Mall parking lot for the first time. He says in previous years the event was held in an enclosed park, but this year he says alcohol should not be served at a family event where people are getting in and out of cars among traffic.

Tourism director, Scott Steinloski, says the new location should attract more people.

"Our city parks are beautiful, but they're kind of tucked away, and this
is going to make it much more visible to the public," Steinloski said.

Steinloski supports the idea of beer sales by the Central Washington Agricultural Museum. It did last year at the old location. He says it's a way for the non-profit to make some money and that city officials have worked with him to handle the safety concerns.

"If the police chief or the fire chief felt like there was an issue we would address that and not do it at all," Steinloski said.

"I just want to make sure this is safe. It's not that I'm against people drinking alcohol, that's their own personal choice, but I just don't know that it's appropriate for a good event," Lemon said.

Ultimately, the police chief and state liquor control board will have the final say. Until then a hot debate continues over serving cold brews.