As the St. Clair Main Street Festival slowly has evolved and grown, so have the number of vendors offering alcoholic beverages at the event.
The St. Clair Board of Aldermen last month approved a third one-day liquor picnic license for the festival that will take place from 2 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, along Main Street from Kitchell Avenue to East Springfield Road. A two-hour dance will follow on the north end of Main Street from 9 to 11 p.m.
The latest picnic license unanimously was approved for Husam Hamed of St. Clair Package Liquor, 505 N. Commercial Ave.
St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Angela Crawford told The Missourian that Hamed plans to have a wine garden during the festival.
Previously, the aldermen approved a one-day picnic license for Christopher Turner of Tres Totitos restaurant in St. Clair. Turner is planning to set up a margarita garden throughout the day.
Also, the Chamber was granted a license to sell beer during the festival and dance. Lori Gratzer, chairman of the Merchants Committee, which is an arm of the Chamber, made the request.
Gratzer told The Missourian this week that in 2009, the first year the street festival took place, there were three liquor vendors. That has been the only year there were that many. There was no street dance at that time.
Beer and margaritas have been sold in recent years.
When specifically asked about the number of alcoholic beverage vendors and if the purpose of having additional liquor-consuming opportunities at the event was an attempt to draw more people to attend, Crawford opted to not directly mention the alcohol options.
“The purpose of the Main Street Festival is to connect businesses with consumers,” she said. “By adding new and innovative things to the event we aim to attract more consumers and create a higher value for the businesses that participate and the community as a whole.
“We are excited that local businesses are coming on board to help us enhance the festival. We’re confident that St. Clair will benefit from our efforts.”
Gratzer said the number of alcoholic vendors shouldn’t be an issue.
St. Clair Police Chief Bill Hammack told The Missourian that in past years, the street festival has not caused a significant amount of problems, but that “typically, the more alcohol sold at a function, the more of a risk there is for potential problems.”
He said some of that “potential risk” depends on who the vendors are and how they operate.
“But the fact remains that the more locations alcohol is served, the more potential there is for trouble,” he said.
However, the police chief said he will “withhold judgment” this year until after the event.
The Main Street Festival, which will be divided into children and adult areas throughout the day, is advertised as a family-friendly event. This is the fifth year for the event.