Nonprofits hop to beer garden call
A couple of local nonprofits have already signed up to help staff the Carbondale Mountain Fair beer garden, but there is still room for three more.The incentive?One thousand bucks for an afternoon spent serving beer, wine spritzers and other beverages during the upcoming fair.”That’s a substantial amount of money for four hours work,” said Mountain Fair Director Thomas Lawley. “We wanted it to be meaningful and somewhat generous.”Lawley, who is also director for the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities (CCAH), which sponsors the fair, said a subcommittee suggested paying nonprofits to help staff the beer garden a few days ago.”Everybody liked the idea,” Lawley said.When CCAH received its first-ever liquor license to operate a beer garden last spring, the group assured the trustees it would attract enough volunteers to run the fair and the beer garden. Lawley said CCAH had been in a “state of flux” concerning beer garden staffing ever since it received its liquor license.”We didn’t know if Friends of the Fair (volunteers) would step forward, or if we’d have to reach out,” Lawley said.The fair is the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities’ major fund-raiser. Every year, 500 to 600 volunteers put in four hours each at the fair, and receive a Friends of the Fair T-shirt in return.Lawley broke down beer garden volunteer considerations as follows.-Three more teams of 12 volunteers each are needed for four hour shifts from Friday, July 26, through Sunday, July 28. Volunteers must be 21 or older.-The volunteers will serve draft and canned beer, wine spritzers and a rum-based summer drink.-Each shift will include at least one professional bar manager hired by the fair, plus shift captains comprised of CCAH or Mountain Fair board members.-Duties include dispensing beverages, taking money and putting colored bracelets on customers to show they are 21 years old.Lawley said the two nonprofits to volunteer are the Stepstone Center and the Thunder River Theatre Co. Lawley joked that he “didn’t want to think about” what will happen if other nonprofits don’t sign up, but that the Stepstone Center and Thunder River Theatre Company might be offered the opportunity to do two shifts each if it comes to that.Community radio station KDNK operated a beer garden at Mountain Fair for more than 15 years until last summer, when the station and CCAH couldn’t agree on a commission structure. KDNK wanted to pay 15 percent, and CCAH wanted 30 percent.KDNK, which historically held the Mountain Fair beer garden liquor license, was not invited back this year after it went ahead and operated the beer garden last year, and paid 15 percent plus a $1,500 space rental fee.KDNK Station Manager Mary Suma indicated the station won’t sign up to take a shift at the beer garden. “We’ll broadcast the fair full time,” Suma said. “That’s what we do best.”Suma said KDNK “respects” the CCAH decision not to invite the station back this year. As for KDNK replacing one of its biggest fund-raisers, “We’re switching from liquor to gambling,” she said.Explaining her remark, Suma said KDNK plans to start holding weekly BINGO games in the fall. “We’ll hustle with BINGO like we hustled for years at the beer tent,” she said.
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