The city council in Washington turned down a request by the county fair board this week, a costly decision and one that caused a lot of talk. They were asking for a permit to sell beer at a tent set up for five days at the Washington County Fair. Council member Bob Shepard says the fair would have made a lot of money, judging by income from such operations at other fairs around the state. He says it’s kind of ironic, because they wanted to raise money for a 4-H extension building for showers and amenities for the youth. The city council members all said their phones rang for days before the meeting at which they voted to deny the beer permit. Shepard says one thing they took a look at was the well-publicized riot in Ames a week ago fueled in large part by alcohol. He says he commented in the council meetings that with the problems at ISU’s VEISHA and the frequent problems with students at the University of Iowa, which is near the town of Washington, a lot of people were concerned about sending a message to their own kids. The Washington County Fair is a well-attended event, Shepard says. He says there’s a ratio of about five kids to every adult at the fair, he says, and that realization is probably the final reason the council voted down the request for a beer permit. Shepard praised the fair board for trying to come up with creative ways to finance the building, and says making it a community-service project for youth is likely to produce another funding idea that will work.
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