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.