Brew fest will have a beer fence - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Brew fest will have a beer fence

by Colby Robertson

WAUSAU (WAOW) -- A special meeting in Wausau is called to discuss the controversy over a beer fence. At a special meeting tonight, Wausau city leaders vote unanimously in favor of that beer fence.

They say it must be put up along the 400 block during this weekend's SquareUp Brew Fest. The decision came down to a number things, including safety, underage drinking and alcohol abuse. But, ultimately, committee chair Lisa Rasmussen says, it came down to consistency.

SquareUp BrewFest is a fundraising event for the 400 Block renovations. It's set for Saturday afternoon. Three local brewery's, local food vendors, music and at the center of controversy, whether or not a beer fence is necessary for the days festivities.

Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel recalls the days without beer fences. Fights, underage drinking, assault. Chief Hardel says, "Since we put the controls in place, the service calls and problems we experienced have drastically reduced I'd say by 80%."

He says we have ordinances in place for a reason. To provide security and safety at events involving alcohol.

Chief Hardel says, "You can have a number of volunteers, 20, 30, or 40 but the reality is if you have 2,000 or 4,000 people at that event it's impossible to know what's going on in the middle of that crowd, who is consuming and who is abusing."

The Public Health and Safety Committee votes unanimously in favor of having the beer fence up along the 400 block for SquareUp Brew Fest. Committee Chair Lisa Rasmussen says the vote ultimately came down to consistency.

Rasmussen says, "Consistency and the application of our ordinances always makes those ordinances more valid and the more exemptions and deviations from those ordinances that we grant, the less effective the original ordnance becomes."

Event organizer, Phil Valitchka, says he doesn't think the fence will have a major impact on the success of the event. He hopes people will still attend and support the 400 block.

It's Saturday, May 8, from 12-8 p.m. on the 400 block in downtown Wausau. It's free to get in and beer is $4 a cup.

Online Reporter: Colby Robertson

Powered by Frankly