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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Provincial to the last drop in Clark County

We're determined here in Clark County to remain absurdly insular and provincial, even when it comes to something as simple as a cold one. From The Columbian:
A new beer garden at the 2007 Clark County Fair led to no arrests, but that hasn't shaken some elected officials' determination to shut off the taps in 2008.

"I'm still against it," said county Commissioner Marc Boldt, who said he'd visited the garden last week without partaking of its beverages. "I think it's potentially dangerous, and more than that, I think it sends the wrong message."

Sheriff Garry Lucas agreed, saying the lack of incidents at the fair - this was the first in years to see zero arrests - was beside the point.

"My opposition is philosophical, not operational," Lucas said Monday. "I don't think you have to drink beer to have a good time with your family."

Even if the garden were to stay around for five years without trouble, Lucas said he'd still oppose it in the sixth year.
You know what also sends a bad message? Someone in sweat pants wolfing down three Onion-Aire burgers and an elephant ear while smearing buttered corn all over their face. My cardiologist would have a heart attack.

Oh, and by the way, the article conveniently fails to mention that both Lucas and Boldt are Republicans. You don't think the right wing churches who swarm the fair with booths and literature might have had their panties in a bunch, do you?

The thing that bugs me about Boldt and Lucas's stance is that there were zero reported problems. None. According to the article, a small number of people were turned away for already being hammered, which is not exactly unusual in the food and beverage service world. So even though having beer and wine in a controlled setting would move the fair into the 20th Century, they're against it because they're against it.

Once again, the busybodies in the right wing churches and their allies in the GOP think they can tell everyone else what to do, at least in public. But you can bet that privately many of them like a cold one after mowing the lawn or fishing as much as anyone else. If someone wants a glass of wine after tromping around the fair all day, what is the big deal?

Of course, this is the same sheriff's department that got trapped in the Gorge hunting Islamic pot plants and had to be rescued. (I'm really hoping that makes "This Week on Drugs" over at Slog, by the way.)

What's also kind of striking is how this small controversy pits social conservatives and their allies against the "bidness folks." Turns out booze sells pretty well, and the fair board is always looking at the bottom line (don't want to raise taxes to support the fair, you know.)
The fair board's president, meanwhile, said he hopes to keep the garden next year, and advertise it more heavily with signs inside the fair.

"We see huge potential for improvement or increase in the revenue," board president Scott Horenstein said.

The fair sold $50,000 worth of alcohol, fair manager Tom Musser said. The guards at the gate scanned 5,428 IDs from 33 different states.
I'll have to admit, I never actually located the beer garden. I saw a sign with an arrow, but they must have made the actual location fairly unobtrusive. I personally felt the rides were a bigger threat to public safety than beer. (Note to self: the hang glider ride is not for you. You are no longer a spring calf.)

There was a guy in the poultry barn that kept crowing with the roosters, but he could have been on a sugar high from the Dairy Women's booth. Darn you, wholesome milkshakes!

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