Thursday, April 10, 2003

Beer might liven up next Freedom Fest

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WEST CHESTER TWP. - A new liberty might be available at the third annual Freedom Fest this summer - the option to drink a beer.

To help pay for the event and to lure larger crowds, trustees are leaning toward permitting beer sales at the two-day event for the first time since it began in 2000.

Operators of a West Chester beer company, Warsteiner Importers, have talked with the township about possibly sponsoring Freedom Fest, which will be June 28 and 29 this year.

Surrounding communities such as Blue Ash have beer sales at their annual Fourth of July celebrations and other events, administrator Dave Gully told trustees.

"It's hard to think of beer sales in the Greater Cincinnati area as being a non-family beverage," Trustee Catherine Stoker agreed. "We had an abysmal turnout last year at Freedom Fest. It seems to me we might want to consider giving it a test year. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out."

Stoker then suggested allowing a veterans group to set up a bingo tent to raise funds for the Voice of America Museum. But Trustee Jose Alvarez quickly nixed that idea. He simply said, "No!" - and Stoker let the issue drop.

Other park events and developments this spring and summer announced Tuesday:

• Spring Festival of Dog Agility (dog competitions) at Voice of America Park on April 26 and 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Voice of America Patriotic Pancake Breakfast on May 10 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. to raise money for the Voice of America Museum. Tours will be available.

• The fourth annual Dogfest from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 8. This year, 8,000 dogs and 16,000 people are expected, the highest turnout ever.

• A new entrance sign to Keehner Park will be in place by July.

• 400 trees are being planted at Beckett Park, and 700 are being planted at Voice of America Park.

• The Fifth Third Bank Concert Series kicks off May 31 at Keehner Park. New acts this year include the Latin salsa band Tropicoso.


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