Camden grants permission for beer, wine tasting at U.S. Toboggan NationalsWest Bay Rotary to explore options
Camden — Camden Select Board members heard a proposal for a beer and wine tent during the U.S. Toboggan Nationals from West Bay Rotary during their regular meeting Oct. 23. West Bay Rotary President Sandy Cox spoke to selectmen during the meeting and said the organization plans to make use of the 30-by-50-foot tent currently used for the chili-chowder challenge.
Cox said the beer and wine tasting event would take place Feb. 8 from 3 to 7 p.m. on Snow Bowl grounds after the toboggan chute has closed. A estimated crowd of 200 to 250 people — most part of the toboggan races — could sample selections provided by eight to 10 breweries and two or three wineries, Cox said, adding cheese and fruit also may be offered during the event.
“[The event will be] all enclosed so they can't leave the area,” he said, noting an 8- to 10-foot buffer also will be in place outside the tent.
Cox said a half dozen Rotarians, in addition to a paid police officer, will patrol the area. Rotarians will serve the alcohol and no one younger than 21 years old will be allowed, he said, estimated tickets to cost $25 per person. A souvenir glass included in the ticket price will be the only receptacle allowed and “transportation will be available for those who need rides,” Cox said. He said the plan already has been reviewed by the police and fire departments as well as Town Manager Patricia Finnigan. Cox said proceeds of the event will be donated to the Snow Bowl in memory of Ken Bailey and Don Gross, both of whom died earlier this year.
Selectman Leonard Lookner requested the event be banned from playing “amplified music” based on previously-aired concerns by neighbors. Cox said the topic of music hadn't come up but said he would consult with Finnigan as needed.
Town attorney William Kelly was present at the meeting as well and said he was already aware of the proposal. He encouraged Cox to assure adequate insurance coverage — Cox said Rotary International's insurance would cover the event — as well as proper licensing to serve alcohol. Cox said the organization has been told by the state they only have to submit and application for the event and said he'd be happy to show the town the application.
Selectman John French said he is “not a fan of alcohol out there” and said he wants to make sure the “town is protected.” Selectman Jim Heard wondered where the responsibility for possibly intoxicated people ends if rides are offered following closure of the tent.
Kelly pointed out that selectmen only were approving the intention of the Rotary to move forward with exploration of hosting a beer and wine tent, not any actual application, and said a public hearing is not needed.
“This approval will start the ball rolling,” Cox said.
Finnigan noted a denial by the select board would render this issue moot, as Rotary would not pursue the topic further.
“They'd stop here,” she said.
A motion made by Selectman Don White sought to approve permission for West Bay Rotary Club to use the tent during the U.S. Toboggan Nationals for a local beer/wine tasting and included the stipulation all licensing and insurance concerns posed by the select board would be addressed in addition to the caveat there be no amplified music.
French noted the select board approves events relating to the U.S. Toboggan Nationals each year, so there was no need to impose a date restriction. Selectman unanimously granted permission to the Rotary for the beer and wine tent.
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