Will alcohol be sold at local County Fairs? - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Will alcohol be sold at local County Fairs?

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A bill is now sitting on Governor Pence's desk to allow alcohol sales at the Indiana State Fair.  It would allow the fair to set up a beer and wine garden featuring beverages made by Hoosiers.  So now that the State Fair may soon sell alcohol we wanted to know if our local County Fairs will follow suit.

We visited New Paradigm Brewing Company in Elkhart, Wednesday.  They'll be making their own beer this summer and owner, Brandon Stanley, hopes the Governor signs the bill.  "I think it's a great opportunity for local breweries.  It'll give us a platform to get out and showcase ourselves."

Stanley said County Fairs should consider tapping the kegs too.  "Supporting the local community at the local level at the County fair only seems to make sense."

He said there's another reason it makes sense to have local beer at a local 4-H fair.  "Beer is an agricultural product no matter how you look at it."

President of the St. Joseph County 4-H Fair Board, Jim Caldwell, understands that argument.  "In some ways with the alcohol, the grain and all that, you could say it's a fit"

But it won't be a fit for them anytime soon.  "We have a lot of things on tap for this year's St. Joe County 4-H Fair but one of them won't be alcohol," said Caldwell, "at this point I can tell you the majority of the board has always felt it's a family oriented fair and having alcohol just won't work."

Elkhart County 4-H Fair Board President Tim Yoder said the subject of alcohol at the fair isn't even something they discuss.  He said it doesn't fit with their 4-H guidelines.  "It's a fun fair, a family fair and for '14 we won't even be talking about it," said Yoder, "If someone were to bring it up we might discuss it, it would probably be a short discussion."

People pushing for alcohol at the State Fair said it would be a great way to support local breweries.  Both Yoder and Caldwell said they'd love to support local breweries, they just want to find a time to do it outside of the 4-H Fair time.

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