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Council rejects notion of serving alcohol at Christmas tree-lighting ceremony without a vote

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 11/8/19

Horse and carriage rides, food and hot chocolate and other attractions will all be part of Middletown’s Christmas tree-lighting ceremony on Nov. 30. But not booze.

Borough council saw to …

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Council rejects notion of serving alcohol at Christmas tree-lighting ceremony without a vote

Posted

Horse and carriage rides, food and hot chocolate and other attractions will all be part of Middletown’s Christmas tree-lighting ceremony on Nov. 30. But not booze.

Borough council saw to that during its Nov. 6 meeting, by rejecting — through inaction — a request from Tattered Flag Brewery & Still Works to serve “a limited variety” of alcoholic beverages on site during the ceremony.

“This is for the kids,” Councilor Robert Reid said. “I do not go along with alcoholic beverages being served or consumed where there are a lot of kids.”

No one from Tattered Flag attended the meeting.

Tattered Flag suggested serving beverages such as adult hot chocolate with vodka; and a Hot Toddy typically made with whiskey and lemon, honey or cinnamon, according to a letter containing the request read by Borough Manager Ken Klinepeter.

Tattered Flag said it would staff the event with its employees, who are Responsible Alcohol Management Program-certified to serve alcohol. RAMP certification is approved by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Tattered Flag said it would obtain proper permits from the LCB to sell alcohol at the event, which will be held on West High Street in front of St. Peter’s Kierch. The part of the street where alcohol is served would be set off as a restricted area.

Tattered Flag in its request thanked the borough for approving several “successful” special events that have been held this year involving alcohol sales outside of Tattered Flag on South Union Street, including the Little Little Beer Festival, Tattered Flag’s third anniversary street party, and its Oktoberfest.

Reid acknowledged having supported approving all of these events, but said they were all for adults.

“This is something entirely different. We have kids involved,” Reid said. Council Vice President Dawn Knull and Councilor Jenny Miller both said they agreed with Reid’s position.

Mayor James H. Curry III, who plays a leadership role in organizing the annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, did not object to Tattered Flag’s request. If anything, Curry seemed a bit bemused by Reid’s opposition.

“There is literally a Christmas song that says ‘have a cup of cheer,’” Curry said, referring to the lyrics in “Have A Holly Jolly Christmas.” “If anyone at this table represents that they are not around children and having a beer once in awhile …”

“If you have that cheer in your house with your kids, that’s a different story,” Reid shot back.

Curry said it should be left to “the responsibility of the parent” to make sure that alcohol does not interfere with the family orientation of the event.

At that point, Council President Angela Lloyd called for someone on council to introduce a motion to take action on the request from Tattered Flag.

No one did so, and the request failed.