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Sunday Discussion: Alexander City SunFest / And The Issue Of Beer

Geek Alabama Discussion

Over the week, Alexander City has been making statewide news, and it’s not because of a special event called SunFest coming up, it’s about the issue of allowing beer.  In Alabama, there are still some people who believes that God does not like any beer, and any alcohol is bad for the family and children, really?  Up to a few years ago, Alabama had some of the toughest alcohol laws in America from limiting the container size to limiting the amount of alcohol in a beverage.  And it was nearly impossible for local brewpubs to open in Alabama, which are great for the community by the way!  The reason why Alabama is now more welcoming for craft beers is the group Free The Hops, who has lobbied the legislature to change many of our archaic alcohol laws, and they have had major success!  Geek Alabama is a strong supporter of Free The Hops, and the organizations has thanked us in the past for talking about them!

So about SunFest, the Chamber of Commerce SunFest Band Battle will be held in downtown Alexander City at Strand Park on June 25th.  The event then moves to the Sportplex on June 26th where there will be a BBQ cook off, Summer tailgate, and a big concert featuring Diamond Rio in the Wildcats Stadium.  The issue is should alcohol be allowed in the Charles E. Bailey Sportplex, because some have said alcohol has no business in the Sportplex, and these people are the same ones who wants all fun things to never come to Alexander City.  Many business professionals and organizations inside Alexander City support allowing alcohol inside the Sportplex for this one day event, because there is nothing fun for young adults to do in Alex City, and I agree with that!

Allowing alcohol in the tailgate event is not going to mean it won’t be family friendly.  Every weekend during football season at Alabama and Auburn, there are many tailgates featuring great food, games, great people, and an overall great time!  Yes, alcohol is allowed, but you don’t see abuse of alcohol, and yes, sometimes an adult can have a glass of beer!  The Alexander City Chamber of Commerce is wanting to allow open containers at this event.  And they got their wish when the city council voted 3-2 to allowing alcohol at SunFest on both days.  When the city council meeting was held on Thursday night, it was standing room only, only because of beer.  Does Alexander City and it’s residents have better things to do, like replacing the 10,000+ jobs lost because of Russell Corporation moving out!  Yes, during that city council meeting, some said having no alcohol is “God’s Blessing”, I don’t believe that.

The most troubling thing about the vote, is many business leaders support alcohol, but the mayor of Alex City Charles Shaw publicly said he did not support allowing alcohol, but will support the city council’s decision and SunFest.  I say good job Alexander City council for voting to allow alcohol at SunFest.  It will keep people in town for both event days, it will mean more tax revenue from hotel stays, restaurant visits, and small business visits.  And it will give the impression that Alexander City is a great city, which is badly needed right now!  Because when a town is doing so bad, and repaving their streets with tar and gravel, you know a city is in trouble!

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My favorite part about this whole story is some of the comments left on the Alexander City Outlook website about this issue.  Here are some of my favorite comments.

“I would like to know who’s opinion it is seeing how whomever wrote the stupid article did bother to sign their name to it. You do NOT speak for me or anyone else in this city, you only speak of your interests, booze and the almighty dollar. Think I just might get a bunch of my “religious” Bible thumping friends and come on down to the event and do a little preaching. With all the sinning that will be going on there surely there will be one or two who will want to repent, heck why not the whole arena? Then this city can stand up to your slogan “Lighting the Way for Alexander City and Lake Martin”!, but I doubt it!”

“The way I see it, if the lake people and other tourist cannot come out and have fun without alcohol, then they need to stay home. I may not be speaking for everyone as the person who wrote this article feels they are, but I do feel I am speaking for many when I say this: We are tire of the rich, out-of-towners coming into our cities/communities driving drunk and killing our family members. We have enough local drunks who make it unsafe as it is to get on the roads, we don’t need to go out of our way to promote more of it.”

“And you wonder why the kids in Alex City end up being dope heads, drunks and have no respect for anyone and are generally screwed up. That is easy, look at what their parents, elected officials and public schools in this city are teaching them. It will not be “just a beer or two. If you think the underage will not have access to the alcohol you people are more out of touch than you know. Most of these people who want this are plastered before they get there and worse when they leave but that is alright, the police will not pull you over for DUI. Besides, what are the chances it will be your kid you plow down on the road in your car. Don’t worry about it, EAT, DRINK, DRINK, DRUNK and be MERRY!”

“If you really think our hometown needs to serve alcohol to it’s guests and citizens to make them stay here and spend money to increase the tax revenue then your priorities are wrong. Spend more time recruiting some major companies/manufacturing jobs that pay real money and offer real benefits to it’s workers instead of retail sales and 3rd tier auto-part makers that may average $8 hr.”

To the folks in Alexander City, you need to quit living in the past!  Full disclosure, I graduated from Benjamin Russell High School and have watched the town go from a bustling town to a town in disrepair.  I don’t even live in Alex City anymore because what jobs are there?  Over 10,000+ jobs have disappeared from the community, the city is repaving streets with tar and gravel, a reality show called Bamazon on History Channel featured people from your area who were unemployed, businesses are struggling to stay open in that town, and there was the New York Times article about how men are struggling in the city.  Alexander City needs any good publicity it can get right now!

The religious people who are wanting to keep Alexander City in the past needs to realize something, if alcohol is a sin, then being obese is a sin, and you should be regulating fatty and sugary foods but that won’t happen anytime soon.  Alexander City needs to attract tourism, and many people who comes to an event wants to have a drink.  No, having one drink is not going to make you drunk.  Mostly everyone practices the responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages at events, and it’s time for Alex City to move into modern times, and I am glad SunFest will allow alcohol!

If you want, visit the Boycott SunFest Alexander City Facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/boycottsunfest?fref=nf

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