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County fair beer garden brews controversy at Marshall council meeting

Monday, July 6, 2009

With a four-two vote -- two council members were absent from the Monday, July 6, meeting -- Marshall City Council rejected the Saline County Fair Association's request for a liquor license to host a beer garden at the fair to help increase revenue.

For about 20 minutes, council members heard statements from several concerned citizens who attended the meeting.

"I think it is so wrong for us to even think of doing such a thing," Irene Sims said.

"A junior fair should not have any liquor on the grounds," former 4-H leader Dorothea Kiehl said.

Providing legal advice for the council, attorney Don Stouffer said, "There is a difference between my legal advice and my personal opinion," and added that he was not in favor of a beer garden at the fair.

But, "The only issue before the council is whether or not the applicant is qualified and whether or not they meet the standards," Stouffer said, not "whether it's a good idea or a bad idea."

City Clerk Janet French said Brent A. Murphy, who applied for the license on behalf of the fair association, had followed the proper procedure and that everything was in order.

Before voting on the issue, council member Dan Brandt told the audience, "I wish you guys could've convinced (the fair association) instead of coming to us."

Brandt and council member Ron Duvall cast the only votes in favor of the liquor license.

On Tuesday, July 7, council member Sam Moten said he voted "no" because "alcohol and minors don't go hand in hand."

Moten said he had planned to vote in favor of the license, but changed his mind after hearing remarks from the audience.

Council member Sheila Cook said she also cast her "no" vote based on her opinion of the issue after listening to citizens speak.

"I felt like they had not got their voice heard" by the fair association, she said, so the issue should not be allowed to proceed.

The other "no" votes were cast by Barbara Utlaut and Lorna Alexander, both of whom were not able to be reached for comment.

Council members also heard from concerned Marshall resident Richard Johns, who spoke about the city's recently updated animal nuisance ordinance.

"I think the ordinance could be improved in several different ways," Johns said, adding that he would like to see the ordinance include a statute of limitations for the offense and a burden of proof, among other things.

In other business, council members approved an appropriations ordinance and amended an ordinance concerning failure to appear before municipal court, which is now punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.

In the municipal services and personnel committee report, Brandt told the council that cold milling on the city's streets is scheduled to begin this Wednesday and last just a few days. Asphalt work will begin next Monday.

Duvall reported on construction in Marshall during the month of June. A total of 37 permits was issued, and $879,743-worth of construction occurred.

In his report, City Administrator Charles Tryban recommended for approval a bid for the demolition of a "substandard" house on East Eastwood Street.

The council approved Thompson Construction's bid of $9,941.30 for the work.

Council members Vince Lutterbie and Gabe Ramsey were absent from the meeting.

The council's next meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 20, at 5:15 p.m.

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City offices didn't know all the names. They did know two and suggested calling them to find out the others - Shelly Arth or Sam Igo.

I did know of those two. Sam's been the president previously, going back at least to '05.

Kaye Wright has also been a board member. If she remains a current member, that I do not know.

-- Posted by Dawson16 on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 9:06 PM

OOPS Carolyn Taylor I misspelled again sorry

-- Posted by arojr on Fri, Jul 17, 2009, at 11:45 PM

Dawson16 I guess city office but I think Carlion Taylor is still on fair board

-- Posted by arojr on Fri, Jul 17, 2009, at 10:40 PM

How can we find out who is on the fair board, arojr?

Eric? Or someone? Can you post the names?

-- Posted by Dawson16 on Fri, Jul 17, 2009, at 10:29 PM

If u dont want a beer garden at fair do it as a fun raiser at another time with local bands and put the funds toward the fair grounds. How bout inviting a carnavel during fair week that can bring in money also.I grew up here and remember bear gardens being held on lot by Conagra and the carnaval rides while being at the fair. Bring more fun back.How bout a dance with a live band during the fair like after the derby or rodeo?We got the fenced in area on top of hill that could be converted to dance floor it has a stage.We need more people in Saline County to get with the fair board and let them know what we need to do to make a better fair for all.Just cause one board member dont like something dont me others have to vote their way to make that person happy its a community not a one person show.So lets be heard and start anouncing fair board meeting to the county so citizens of Saline County can be heard and give their opinions on trying to make a better time at fair.

-- Posted by arojr on Fri, Jul 17, 2009, at 8:52 PM

So selling alcohol is the answer? There is no other way to raise money without putting the booze around the kids?? It's kind of like the D.A.R.E. officer in school teaching a class drunk...

-- Posted by muddywater on Thu, Jul 16, 2009, at 7:07 AM

I am a mom thats kids show at the fair and trust me they need money bad. This I think has gotten crazy out of hand. I have been to beer gardens and we find baby sitters for the kids and most people have desinated drivers. We do need to find a way to raise money for the kids. We love coming to the fair but when we are tearing the yard up we dont have enough room in the pig barn for pigs. And also the water backs up so it causes more problems. There are alot of towns that use this to help raise money and it is a pretty safe environment. We need to learn to trust people that they can be responsible we dont need to be everyones mom or dad, but we do need to think how to get money to fix tis before the saline county fair goes down to nothing at all.

-- Posted by billie clevenger on Wed, Jul 15, 2009, at 9:09 AM

i've never been to a beer garden, so i'm just curious, someone help me here ... how many of those beer garden attendee's will also be driving home kids from a YOUTH fair? doesn't sound like a good mix to me.

-- Posted by aikman8 on Tue, Jul 14, 2009, at 11:57 PM

Farm Mom, I also apologize. We can't hear tone of voice through these posts and I wrongly "heard" what you said.

Just read about the Saline County Social (love that name!) which will take place at the fairgrounds. I have a feeling it's going to be a success with a good turnout and nice amount of donations.

-- Posted by Dawson16 on Mon, Jul 13, 2009, at 11:11 PM

As a life long resident of this great town, it is very sad to say that we have not had anything new in a long while. As an alcoholic in recovery, I personally would not attend the beer gardens, yet there are those in this community who would like to attend and have a little clean fun. Those who do not want to have to attend the local bars and have to be on the look out for the local riff raff who can't seem to do anything but start trouble. i just believe it is about time that we as a community open our eyes up to new things, before other area communities begin to surpass us in festival and other revenue drawing events.

-- Posted by Royal_Pain_31 on Mon, Jul 13, 2009, at 4:29 PM

ive lived here for awhile now and ive kept my mouth shut its not the fact of people that r in charge of thing didnt allow the beer garden. im for it by the way. if they would get away from thinking about saying no to things and just opening there mind to new ideas. alot of other towns have more events to attend because who is in charge thinks they have to be prim and proper about things. thats fine but when the majority is feels ther views r not expressed maybe its time to change and embrace new ideas and open ur mind. im not saying we should go nuts but loosen up a little. give some people a little credit ya know

-- Posted by bdporkchop on Sun, Jul 12, 2009, at 2:10 PM

Some people just can't function unless they have a beer in their hand. It just shows our kids that they need to drink beer to have any fun. I think the kids are smarter than the adults, ask them if they want drunks at their event??

-- Posted by muddywater on Fri, Jul 10, 2009, at 2:25 PM

Dawson16, I apologize for sounding rude, not my intent. You had merely stated you would be willing to make a donation, just wondered if you were willing to follow through with the statement and if anyone else felt the same as you. I understand the Fair Board was counting on these funds to help in the premium payments to the youth of Saline County so with out them the kids will be getting a little less, unless some people step up and help make up for the lost revenue.

-- Posted by Farm Mom on Fri, Jul 10, 2009, at 6:03 AM

farmer's granddaughter, it is nice to hear from someone with similar sentiment. And really good to hear that many of the families weren't in agreement with this.

-- Posted by Dawson16 on Thu, Jul 9, 2009, at 7:16 PM

Farm Mom, this was a fairly civil conversation until you made your rude comment. There's no need to do that.

I heard today that there's a petition going around in support of the beer garden. I don't know if that's true and even if it is true I don't know that anything can be done before the fair. But I'll hold onto my donation for now.

-- Posted by Dawson16 on Thu, Jul 9, 2009, at 7:09 PM

As for the county fair beer garden, many of you are assuming that the majority of the 4 H families were in favor of this. That is not all true. There were many raised eye brows at our meeting when this was discussed. The idea probably came from fair board personnel. I don't know if other counties have beer gardens at their county fairs or not. And it doesn't matter about what other counties do, I do not think that Lafayette County has a beer garden with their 4 H fair which is in late July or August, but I'm not sure. I highly doubt it! As for the Missouri State Fair, it doesn't solely promote 4 H activities and projects. A county fair is billed as a youth fair, a beer garden would be out of character with that projected image.

As for street dances in Marshall, I only recall one or maybe two 1989 to 92, including the Ozark Mountain Daredevils and several good area bands. Certain civic groups sponsored a couple gardens, even the catholic church included beer gardens with their harvest festival which were very entertaining and well attended. This is very common with catholic and protestant churches who celebrate deeply rooted and established ethnic memberships in most cities. I certainly enjoyed myself at St. Peter's. But those were different times! Don't you all think that times have changed just a little bit? Lifestyles have changed! If there is a local beer garden in the future, why not let the Lion's or Optimist, etc sponsor it? But not under a 4 H flag. If we would have another beer garden in the future,lets be sure that our law enforcement allows a reasonable level of enjoyment, otherwise one third if the town will get a ticket!

-- Posted by farmer'sgranddaughter on Thu, Jul 9, 2009, at 6:11 PM

So, has anyone heard yet if the contributions to the Saline County Fairboard are pouring in yet? Dawson16, how big was your contribution?

-- Posted by Farm Mom on Thu, Jul 9, 2009, at 4:01 PM

just keep letting marshall residents give thier money to other towns/counties to help out money- wise with their 4-H and youth groups, we are just fine with that!!!! Waverly, Concordia, Carrollton, just all just keep benifiting from Marshall residents.

-- Posted by express on Thu, Jul 9, 2009, at 9:38 AM

I guess I did miss the point then.

I thought the point was to keep the fair as it was originally intended - a youth fair focused on community agriculture, rural living and the products of such, and featuring traditional homecrafts.

My own personal opinion (which I realize is apparently in the minority among those posting) is that a beer garden does not reflect the above intentions of a county fair. You can argue with me all day that other county fairs host beer gardens. That doesn't meant Saline County should. We could be a great example for other counties who are wavering on this issue.

I'm not going to get into discussion of government on this one. We could be here all day and I need to get to work.

-- Posted by Dawson16 on Thu, Jul 9, 2009, at 8:58 AM

Dawson16 you have missed the point the problem is not if it's the right thing to do it's the goverment going past the law to do what they think is right for everyone.

Also what is wrong with letting the parents keep their kids away from the beer garden?

-- Posted by Gal66 on Thu, Jul 9, 2009, at 7:06 AM

Well jb, you ask who's going to police the 4-H kids and the coolers?

Their parents should, that's who!!

As for fundraising ideas, I could probably come up with some input on that if asked. And I'd gladly support the fair association with a monetary donation or purchase from a fundraising event.

-- Posted by Dawson16 on Wed, Jul 8, 2009, at 10:41 PM


Here's your chance. What are your ideas??

I think maybe the people who didn't give the beer garden a chance to succeed or fail should give money!

By the way, will those people be there on Saturday night, because there will be lots of beer - and lots of 4-H kids! The beer garden would have been policed - noone under 21 would be allowed to drink. Who is going to police the people with their coolers???

-- Posted by judgmental bast*** on Wed, Jul 8, 2009, at 9:56 PM


Bingo! A 4-H fair, for sure. And FFA too.

Gal66, I know how the county fair is funded but I stand firm that there are other ways to fundraise rather than hosting a beer garden.

-- Posted by Dawson16 on Wed, Jul 8, 2009, at 6:39 PM

As a kid I used to show livestock and participate at the Saline County fair and I always wondered why some work was not done on the fairgrounds as a "project" for the kids.I know that projects such as wood working, electronics and such as available maybe the kids could provide the labor and get some things fixed that need fixing and learn something in the process!

-- Posted by litlmissme on Wed, Jul 8, 2009, at 4:10 PM

A beer garden might at least generate some interest in the "fair". I am not originally from Marshall and I was shocked at what was considered the Saline County Fair. It seems more like a 4-H Fair, which is great for all of those, especially the kids, who are involved. Those of us who have no interest in the swine showings or the saltiest ham on earth or the, uh, talent contest, don't even bother going. Every little town within a 50 mile radius has some kind of beer garden and one of the biggest towns around has the trackless train. Yay. Can't wait. Yay.

-- Posted by Pass it On on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 8:43 PM

I would think that having a beer garden and not allowing coolers would cut down on the number of minors drinking. In my experiences you are carded and given a stamp or wristband before you are allowed to buy a beer. The beer garden seems a lot easier to regulate then trucks sitting around everywhere with coolers full of beer for anyone and everyone.

-- Posted by screwyruhe3 on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 4:09 PM

Correct me if I am wrong, but from what I have learned from fair board members is that 100% of the beer garden profits would be given back to the youth as premium money and if possible improvements to the fairgrounds. This could be very beneficial to the 4-H and FFA kids during a time when most local businesses arent necessarily as prosporous as they have been in the past. These kids work on their projects all year long in hopes of receiving every dollar they can come county fair show/sale time. I might be wrong, but I could see this years ham/lamb/barrow/steer sale being not nearly as good as previous years. I applaud the fair board for trying to do something to help that. Saline County has probably the highest quality of livestock show as any county in Missouri, but one of the poorest premium sales and some of the poorest facilities. Why is that? Because nobody has tried to change it and now when they do, they get denied. I was at a wedding reception at the fairgrounds this summer and people were laughing at the cinder block showerhouse and beat up hog barn. I had to agree with them, they are an eyesore. Its time for a change, and remember change isnt always a bad thing. As of now, there is nothing to get people out to the fair besides the rodeo. I know there are livestock shows, but the average town person does not just go watch a pig or steer show unless they have family showing etc etc.

As far as the whole alcohol and kids thing goes, that is a lame argument. Alcohol is everywhere! Grocery store, wal-mart, applebees, Royals game, college athletic events, airplanes, hell even Sea World sells beer! Our you gonna shelter your child from all those places because they sell alcohol and there might be a drunk wandering around???? Also I believe there was to be law enforcment working the event and from what I have seen in my lifetime there are very few problems in beer gardens when there are a few badges walking around.

Saline County has a fair board that is 210% in it for the kids and agriculture, lets take the handcuffs off city council and let them make some changes that will make it a better fair for everyone!!

-- Posted by havetosaysomething on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 3:42 PM


Your an .....................

-- Posted by What the f...... on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 3:27 PM

Since the beer garden will subject all of the "children" to drunk people, then the council should also rescind the licenses of the many Marshall's eating establisments that also serve alcohol. They need to be the moral police and protect all the "children" of Saline County. If you don't want to go or subject your children to it, then stay home!!! Maybe you should also not go the Wal-Mart--Missouri State Fair--Professional Ballgames etc... They all serve alcohol.

P.S. The kids will be subject to the "loud mouth drunks" at the rodeo--not the Beer Garden. You will have to be 21 and show ID to get in there--not the rodeo.

-- Posted by Farm Mom on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 3:11 PM

Prohibition is over people need to get with it. People have been brewing and drinking since the beginning of time. i just hate it when the "moral police" try to impose rules and regulations on everyone.

-- Posted by dhok on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 2:42 PM

Amen, FarmMom

It is very easy to be judgmental and say no to something - but a little tougher to actually contribute.

Again, the beer garden was not going to be open until Saturday night. All fair events would be over at that time and all livestock were released and sent home. The rodeo was going on - and coolers with alcohol have always been allowed.

The beer garden would not bring "minors and alcohol hand and hand" anymore than they already have been at fair events. No minors would be allowed in the beer garden area.

Youth also show at the Missouri State Fair - alcohol is sold everywhere there, along with other fairs across the state.

Why is this one being blocked?

-- Posted by judgmental bast*** on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 1:52 PM

Have you asked why the Fair Board is trying to raise funds? What will the money be spent on? Will it improve the facilities for our children and grandchildren who participate in the fair? Go look at the Saline County Fairgrounds and see the facilities--they are badly in need of an update. Some of the barns have no working outlets to plug fans or anything else into. The Swine barn floods due to old outdated drains that back up. The pens in the swine barn are pieced together and so outdated it is unreal. When you are at the fair and it rains the water pools all around the barns creating large mud puddles everywhere. Then the sun comes out and mosquitos are created. The facilites are sorely in need of an update. Go to surrounding counties and look at their facilities and see if Saline County's are up to par. Do our children and grandchildren deserve less because it's ok for everyone to bring their coolers of beer to the fairgrounds and drink it but it's not ok for the Fair Board to sponser a Beer Garden and sell beer to obtain the funds to updated the facilities? If it's not ok--then open your wallets and start making contributions to the Fair Board for the updates that are long overdue!!

-- Posted by Farm Mom on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 1:13 PM

If it were not a problem to sell beer during the concert series at the fairgrounds a few years ago, concerts that were attended by minors then what is the problem now? Puritanical hysteria is my guess.

-- Posted by What the f...... on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 12:24 PM

The counselor said the only issue was whether the applicant was qualified. The city clerk said everything was in order. It's obvious that the 4 council members voted their personal opinions instead of following the proper procedure. Whether you approve of the beer garden or not, I can't see how anyone can approve of the council's action.

Carrollton has a 2-night beer garden that raises a lot of money and co-exists nicely with the rest of the county fair festivities. I'd be interested in hearing an explanation as to why the same thing can't happen in Saline County.

-- Posted by outsider on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 11:27 AM

Dawson16 did you ever stop to think about where the money to keep the fair going comes from?

Here is another point lets say you wanted to start a business here in Marshall it could be any business but wait a minute say one of the city council members does not think it's right for you to start that business and can get enough of the members to vote along with them so you don't get your business license even if you did everything legal and on the up and up.

The big problem with the liquor license is there is not enough time for the Fair Association to take it to court in time to have the beer garden.

To the members of the City Council that voted no on this issue if they did everything they needed to do to legally get the license why is it you voted NO?

-- Posted by Gal66 on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 11:18 AM

Marshall, MO

Still living in the Dark Ages..

Surprise, surprise.

-- Posted by Hombre on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 10:50 AM

dhok - This is a YOUTH fair. Have you ever been to the county fair to see what it's about?

-- Posted by Dawson16 on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 8:30 AM

I know I will remember this come election time and you will not be getting my vote!

-- Posted by Gal66 on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 8:27 AM

If these people were against the beer garden, they should have taken it up with the Fair Board. Now the city council is stopping fundraisers. How would it go over if they kept the Knights of Columbus or Rotary Club from doing a fundraiser?

The beergarden was going to be far away from the fair buildings, plus it was on Saturday night, after all the livestock (and kids) are gone. It was after the rodeo and there is already plenty of beer there for that, but the fair doesn't benefit-people bring their own coolers.

Are all these women who spoke willing to give the fairboard money so they can keep the fair going?

-- Posted by judgmental bast*** on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 8:17 AM

It appears to me that Mrs. Sims and Mrs. Kiehl don't know anything about the county fair. All respect intended here but if you have ever spent the night at the Saline County Fair. You would know that after dark drinking is kind of a big deal. I look at this as if everyone that is showing livestock and such is drinking anyway, then why not shut up a shed charge them to get in and sell them high priced beer for a profit. I've been to a few beer gardens in my day and I've never scene a kid running around!

-- Posted by SalineFire on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 7:04 AM

"City Clerk Janet French said Brent A. Murphy, who applied for the license on behalf of the fair association, had followed the proper procedure and that everything was in order."

If everything was in order then how is it legal for the Marshall City Council to rejected the Saline County Fair Association's request?

-- Posted by Gal66 on Tue, Jul 7, 2009, at 6:41 AM

Marshall is boring enough. I don't think there is anything wrong with a beer garden. If you don't want to drink don't drink and if you don't want to smoke don't smoke, but don't stop other people from having fun.

-- Posted by dhok on Mon, Jul 6, 2009, at 9:10 PM

I agree with Irene Sims and Mrs. Kiehl. There is no need for a beer garden at the Saline County Fair. Good for the council members who voted against it.

P.S. If it's Mrs. Irene Sims who was a Marshall teacher, it's Sims, not Simms.

-- Posted by Dawson16 on Mon, Jul 6, 2009, at 7:23 PM

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