Cyndi said: “Who’s gonna be liable when a drunk assaults, harasses, or hurts someone? Surely responsible drinkers can wait until they are back home.”One of my friends has been a carnival worker off and on for many years. She put it into perspective this way:“In one respect, having a beer garden is safer than walking around with booze in a cup all night long, which happens frequently at fairs and festivals. If someone is drunk and wants to cause trouble, it is usually on the midway. If people want to believe there is no booze at the fair, they are badly mistaken. It has been there forever, so why not have it in a safe vicinity?“Do I think it should be allowed? No, but since it’s already out there why not have a safe place to do it? I would much rather know where most of the drinking is being done.”At the Iowa State Fair, according to Tracy, alcohol is available at a few places throughout the fairgrounds, and people can drink it while they walk around.“There are probably incidents that arise, but it’s never anything newsworthy,” she said, adding that the Iowa fair is considered one of the best.
Once the Indiana State Fair Commission has details mapped out, Klotz said, the plan must be approved by the Indiana State Fair Legislative Advisory Committee and, ultimately, the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission.“Whatever plan we decide on will be well-vetted and approved,” he said.
Although there’s been a ban on alcohol at the state fair since 1946, it’s been permissible to sell it at other events held at the fairgrounds, so Klotz doesn’t anticipate a huge increase in expenses or a difference in the way they do business.“We have a liquor license and sell alcohol at many other events, so nothing will really change,” he said. “We will incur some costs to make this a nice, comfortable, appropriate area because we haven’t had one before ... There might be a slight bump in security for that area.”Klotz said the beer and wine sales also have potential to add revenue to the fair’s bottom line. That’s certainly a plus, but I have to wonder if it’s even going to be worth it to the wine and beer vendors.