Havelock board to vote on proposed beer sales at chili festival

Published: Monday, August 25, 2014 at 09:29 AM.

The Havelock Board of Commissioners is expected to vote tonight on whether to permit beer sales at this year’s Havelock Chili Festival.

Stephanie Duncan, executive director of the Havelock Chamber of Commerce that puts on the annual festival, is expected to update board members on how the proposed beer garden at the festival would work. The Chili Festival Committee has suggested that a beer garden in a limited area with controlled access would enhance the experience of many of those attending the festival. The annual event draws around 20,000 to 25,000 each year.

Currently, city regulations prohibit alcohol at any city park. Havelock city staff in consultation with the city’s attorney suggested two amendments to those regulations that would allow the festival to have a beer garden.

To change the rules, a super majority vote of board members would be required. If just a simple majority is received, a second vote would be required at a later meeting.

At least one commissioner, Karen Lewis, said during a July 14 meeting that she opposed the plan. Commissioners Jim Stuart and George Liner voiced support for the idea, while commissioners Brenda Wilson and Danny Walsh said at that time that they wanted more information on the plan before making a decision.

An unscientific online poll conducted by the Havelock News showed that 64 percent of the 111 respondents supported the idea of a beer garden at the festival. Comments to commissioners during public meetings appear split on the idea.

Also during the meeting, Havelock City Manager Frank Bottorff is expected to update commissioners on the search for a new police chief. G. Wayne Cyrus plans to retire at the end of September. An initial list of about 50 applicants was narrowed to five that went through the interview process, with that list narrowed to the top two candidates.

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