Mayor breaks tie to approve beer garden for festival

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(Posted May 27, 2019)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

In a split vote, Mount Sterling village leaders approved a temporary permit allowing the Mount Sterling Chamber of Commerce to operate a beer garden at the new Summer Jam Festival.

Organized by the Chamber and the village’s parks and recreation committee, the festival is set for June 13-15 in downtown Mount Sterling and takes the place of the Community Days Festival.

Council members Mike Bennett, Marci Darlington and Becky Martin voted in favor of the beer garden permit. Council members Lowell Anderson, Craig Hix and David Timmons voted against it. Mayor Billy Martin cast the tie-breaking vote.

Timmons said he has issues with beer being served at a family-friendly event. Hix wanted to know if a sheriff’s deputy or someone else with authority would be on hand at the beer garden should any trouble arise.

Becky Martin, who serves as Chamber vice president, said the Ohio Department of Liquor Control has strict requirements for beer gardens. The area must be fenced off, the permit must be displayed at the site, and everyone who enters must show identification. She said the Madison County Sheriff’s Office has signed off on the request, and a deputy will be patrolling the festival and, therefore, close at hand if needed.

“These are moneymakers,” said Mayor Martin about beer gardens, noting they are a part of other area festivals in London, Washington Court House and Circleville.

The Chamber of Commerce plans to set up the beer garden in the public parking area on South London Street (State Route 56), between the village gazebo and the squad bay. All profits from beer sales will go to the Chamber.

The Summer Jam Festival brings Mount Sterling’s summer celebration back to the streets after several years at the Community Center and Veterans Field.

“A lot of people have said to us that they wanted it downtown again,” Becky Martin said.

The village will block off London Street between Church and Columbus streets, as well as Main Street, one block to the east and one block to the west of London Street. Festival hours are 4-10 p.m. June 13-14 and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. June 15.

Each night, a live band will perform, sponsored by American Legion Post 417. Additional entertainment includes performances by other musical acts and the Madison-Plains High School cheerleaders. The Mount Sterling Public Library is bringing its summer reading program to the festival with a performance by family entertainer Mr. Pickles.

Children’s rides, games, food trucks, a cornhole tournament, contests, crafters, and direct sales vendors are planned.

Mount Sterling’s community yard sales coincide with the festival. The cost to have a yard sale included in an advertised list of addresses is $5.

To sign up for the yard sale list, cornhole tournament, or contests (bike decorating, baking, hot dog eating, watermelon seed spitting, pets), call Mount Sterling village hall at (740) 869-2040, ext. 5, or Becky Martin at (740) 506-0006.

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