Council OKS beer, wine sales for WHDA events

Published 6:44 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Washington City Council, during its June 10 meeting, voted 4-1 to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages during an Aug. 24 event at Festival Park.

Councilman Doug Mercer, as he’s done in the past, voted against the request for a beer and wine garden by the Washington Harbor District Alliance. Council members Bobby Roberson, Richard Brooks, Edward Moultrie and William Pitt voted for the request.

Beth Byrd, WHDA director, made the request. WHDA plans to sell alcoholic beverages at the Downtown Motown and Pamlico Seafood Festival events the last Saturday in August. No coolers will be allowed at the two events, Byrd said.

Both are ticketed events.

The events will be held in lieu of Pickin’ on the Pamlico, a WHDA event held on the waterfront for the past several years.

“This would have been the eighth year. We’re not retiring that forever, but we thought we might give it a break. What we’ve tried to do is incorporate some of those features into the Downtown Motown concert,” Byrd said.

Byrd said having a designated area for the purchase and consumption of beer and other alcoholic beverages allows WHDA more control over the consumption of alcohol than allowing festival-goers to bring their own alcohol to the event in coolers.

“Logistically, it will make it a little bit easier for the volunteers who come out. We don’t have to search coolers for other things that are not allowed at the concert,” Byrd said. “We will have more control over how many beers a person were to drink, as well.”

Mayor Archie Jennings replied, “I think that works well. That way if you want to have a beer or something, there’s a place to do that that’s appropriate. If you want to go downtown and experience whatever it is and you don’t want to run into that sort of thing, you can stay away from it. I feel good about that.”

In case of rain, the events would be move to Washington High School, but no alcoholic beverages would be served there, Byrd said.

Byrd said she would look into the sales of beer and wine occurring off city property, possibly in an adjacent parking lot if she could get permission for the property owner to do so.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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