Making the world safe for… whatever.

Do you see the problem with this situation?  Me either.  It’s a Downtown event known as Exhibitour, which has been held twice annually for years.  Various shops downtown open their venues up to feature various artists and then serve up hors d’ouevres and beverages to people who stroll between the stores.  There are sidewalk musicians.  It’s a really nice event — and not the kind of place underage people go to drink.  Check out the crowd yourself — either in the picture, or by coming downtown yourself on June 18.

It’s one of the events that I had in mind a few years back when we inserted a provision in the city’s ordinance to get a waiver from Wausau’s fairly oppressive alcohol rules.  You know — the one about “beer fences” that comes up every so often.  It’s a really simple provision in the ordinance that allows the chair of the Public Health & Safety Committee to sign off for well-controlled events where there is little or no danger of minors consuming alcohol.  The two prior chairs of that committee didn’t have a problem with those waivers.  There have never been any incidents.

The current chair doesn’t think there should be any waivers.   So NOW do you see the problem with the picture?  Hey, I’ll give you a closer look:

See?  There are wine glasses on the table.  Never mind that the event has gone on for years without ever having an issue.  Never mind that this is something that goes on in communities all over the country and all over the world.  Never mind that it makes far better use of the total space and the amenities available to host it by using the indoors and the outdoors.  Never mind that people like it better that way.  Never mind that we put a specific provision in the ordinance to deal with events like this. 

We’ve got a put a stop to this stuff to make the world safe for… whatever.  And that’s why nobody can be outside the store’s interiors with a glass of wine this spring, unless somebody changes their mind to match up with what has happened in the past.  

What happens when people can’t carry a glass of wine between storefronts?  Well, we crowd more people up to wine because everyone is required to arrive at each place with an empty glass.  Then, a lot of people tend to drink the glass empty before leaving — so they can fill it up at the next place.  They wouldn’t have to, but it happens.  And that is what setting up a negative environmental factor accomplishes.  Is there a compensating benefit? Well, certainly none that I can see.  And it’s not helpful when you’re talking about controlling alcohol problems.  It also cuts down on the street life aspects that have been so much a part of Exhibitour’s success in the past.  

But hey, we’ve got a rule to enforce. 

JR

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6 Responses to “Making the world safe for… whatever.”

  1. I concur. Most of the people that attend Exhibitor are older responsible adults and not the kind that you would find at I.C. Willy’s or the Paradox Bar. As an outdoor photographer, I have been trying to get my work into events like Exhibitour. Events like that, the Festival of Arts, and Concerts on the Square are intended to get people to come downtown and see what is there outside the Mall.

    We don’t have the college crowds like La Crosse, Eau Claire, or Oshkosh, so the need to police young adults is less.

  2. Being consistent in doing the wrong thing, is never right. And that’s exactly whats been done in this case. It’s just the easy way out. No good reason, just consistence.

    In fact, as far all the Exhibitour participants will be concerned this is a substantial change and VERY inconsistent to how the event has run for years. Without incident. It will be up to those who enjoy events like this to make their voice heard. Please contact your City Council member and let them know if you support a simple means like a wrist band for events like this. Or, get fitted for your own, personal, portable beer fence. The wrist band does chaff a lot less. And comes in many nice colors.

    Many cities around the world have ‘sidewalk cafes’ where people can enjoy being outdoors, see people walking by have something to eat and if they are an adult, have an adult beverage. And in those cities, I’ve never seen an incident with underage drinking, or an adult who drank to excess.

    People tend to act like you treat them. Treat them like adults, and you get that back from almost everyone. Wausau, what do you think about that?

  3. With the Square Up fundraiser, beer was required to be consumed behind a fence since the beer was PURCHASED for consumption. In this event, alcohol is NOT being purchased, so previously, there was a different set of rules applied. In light of this decision (basically stating that alcohol cannot be consumed outside), ultimately won’t this set precedence for the Wednesday night concerts?? I see some changes in store very soon. We’re heading down a slippery slope…

  4. It’s certainly a potential issue — and if a history of running a well-managed event that doesn’t have problems isn’t good enough for people to want to keep their hands off of something, then it could open the door to just about anything, one might surmise.

  5. msmamma Says:

    This seems to be the typical assiness that pervades certain aspects of the beloved berg that is Wausau. Big Fish little pond. Puh’lease.

  6. most wine glasses have very thin structure and i bet that they break easily not unless they are made of quartz glass ,”`

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