Heart of Virginia Festival requests sale of alcohol

Published 4:32 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Members of the Farmville Town Council have forwarded to a committee a request to sell beer and wine at the Farmville Regional Airport as part of the annual Heart of Virginia festivities.

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The request came from the festival during the council’s March 9 meeting.

“We have not allowed it (in the past),” said Farmville Town Manager Gerald Spates. “The Heart of Virginia Festival has always been a family event.”

He said individuals were allowed to bring coolers to the music and fireworks show, which follows the Heart of Virginia events in downtown Farmville on the first Saturday in May.

“We don’t use it as a moneymaking thing,” said Councilwoman Sally Thompson.

Several members of the council said that if the Heart of Virginia

Festival was permitted to sell alcohol, a blanket policy would be in effect.

“If you open it up to the Heart of Virginia Festival, you have to open it up to everybody after that who wants to sell,” said Mayor David Whitus.

Councilman Thomas Pairet made a motion — which died for the lack of a second — that the town council not allow anyone to sell alcohol at the airport.

“Just simply for the fact that we’ve not done it in the past (and) we’ve not had any issues or problems,” Pairet said, explaining his motion. “I feel like that if we do start this, it will (set) a precedence … I think you would have a hard time discerning between who gets to do what and who doesn’t.”

Pairet said there was a possibility that two different groups might even desire to sell alcohol at the same time. “I think you’re opening up a can of worms,” he said.

Spates said several years ago all alcohol was banned on town property, but the policy was later changed to allow the sale of beer at the Jaycees’ First Fridays events.

According to the town, alcohol is currently allowed at the airport.

Spates said the Heart of Virginia Festival Committee carries its own insurance policy. The festival is a 501c3 organization, he said.

Councilman Donald Hunter said the best way to handle to situation would be to put the matter in a committee to work out the details.

The council agreed to send the recommendation to the council’s assets and resources committee for further discussion.