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July 4, 2014

Beer to flow at fair

ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County lawmakers took another step this week toward allowing beer and wine sales at the Essex County Fair.

The County Board of Supervisors voted 16-1 at Ways and Means to approve the fair’s request for a permit from the State Liquor Authority.

The county owns the fairgrounds, and the Essex County Agricultural Association operates the fair.

The association plans to feature a craft-beer and wine tent this year for the first time, the operation of which has previously been approved by the Board of Supervisors.

The fair is Aug. 13 through 17 at the county fairgrounds in Westport.

Fair Board member Timothy Record is in charge of the beer and wine offering.

“It’s a temporary permit for beer and wine and (hard) cider, no liquor involved,” he told lawmakers.

“We’ll have beer from local breweries; we have (them) signed up.

“From the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail, Hid-In-Pines Vineyard will be our wine supplier this year, and we’ll have one cider operator.”

The Wine Trail is a group promoting Clinton County vineyards, including Hid-In-Pines Vineyard, located in Morrisonville.

Paradox Brewery in Schroon, Blue Line Brewery in Saranac Lake and High Peaks Distributing in St. Armand will all provide beer for the fair.

Supervisor Michael Marnell (R-Schroon) voted against the beer and wine sales. Marnell, who once operated an establishment that served alcohol, said his experience turned him against the use of spirits.

Supervisor George Canon (R-Newcomb) was absent from the session.

Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) said he understands there are some negative aspects to beer and wine sales but said the fair needs to be able to make a profit to survive.

“This is a definite controversial issue, but I think we’re making the right decision here,” Douglas said.

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