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Pickerington may allow Victory Park festivals to sell beer
Pickerington city council may allow local festivals to sell beer in Victory Park.
The Olde Pickerington Village Jazz and Blues Ribfest will move from Columbus Street to Victory Park and organizers hope to move the beer tent with it, Ribfest president Keely Weaver said.
The Ribfest organizers have asked the council for an exception that would overrule a city ordinance prohibiting alcohol in any Pickerington park.
After the Ribfest submitted its request, the Violet Festival organizers followed suit.
Alcohol would be confined to an enclosed beer garden guarded by police, Weaver said.
"We've never had a problem and I don't foresee having a problem by moving (the beer garden) a few hundred feet," Weaver said.
However, resident Gary Taylor urged the council to vote against the proposals.
Taylor's grandfather, Dr. W.B. Taylor, along with A.J. Good, founder of the Pickerington Creamery, donated the park land to the city in 1942, Taylor said.
His grandfather would not have approved of beer in the park he gifted and the original deed reflects that, Taylor said.
The deed states that the park "shall be used only for recreation, religious or educational purposes."
The statement does not specify prohibiting alcohol, but the intent is there, Taylor said.
If Pickerington violates the deed, the property would revert to the Taylor family, per the deed.
Taylor said he does not want the land returned to his family.
"I'm wanting to carry on a family tradition that's worthy," Taylor said.
Many residents have contacted Taylor to express their support, he said.
"I'm surprised and pleased that people are coming on my side to encourage me to continue," Taylor said.
City Attorney Phil Hartmann said the city would not violate the deed by allowing alcohol in the park.
The Ribfest has outgrown Columbus Street, which has limited water and electricity for vendors, Weaver said.
Additionally, the festival plans to expand from a one-day to a two-day event, Weaver said.
Beer sales partially cover the cost of bands at Ribfest and the Violet Festival relies on beer sales to pay for rides, Weaver said.
If the council refuses the Ribfest request, the event must move outside the city, Weaver said.
"There is nowhere else in the city to hold it," Weaver said.
The organizers of the Ribfest are Pickerington business owners who do not want the event to leave the city, Weaver said.
Weaver said she hopes everything will be resolved soon so she can begin advertising for food vendors.
Usually the festival begins advertising in December, Weaver said.
The council safety committee will discuss the issue at its Dec. 16 meeting.
The Ribfest is scheduled for Aug. 6 and 7.
The Violet Festival is scheduled for July 28-31.
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