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May 6, 2014

Essex County approves alcohol at fair

ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County lawmakers gave the OK Monday to alcohol sales at this year’s Essex County Fair.

The previously controversial measure to allow beer and wine to flow at the fair passed with a 14-2 vote from the Essex County Board of Supervisors, after moderate discussion over its merits.

A retired state trooper, Supervisor David Blades (R-Lewis), and a former tavern owner, Supervisor Michael Marnell (R-Schroon), were the only members of the board to oppose the sales, both because of their contact with excessive drinkers in their previous jobs.

ALCOHOL CONDITIONS

The sale of beer and wine at the fairgrounds returned to the floor in recent weeks after its failure two years ago.

When it came up for a final vote Monday, Blades asked that it be tabled to get more advice from County Attorney Daniel Manning III, who was not at the meeting.

County Manager Daniel Palmer said he spoke with Manning before the session and that Manning said he would draft the protocol for alcohol sales and bring it before the board for approval at a later date.

“You can go ahead and pass it, subject to terms and conditions; then we will come back with those terms and conditions,” Palmer said.

BREWERIES

The fair is Aug. 13 through 17, and Supervisor Daniel Connell (D-Westport) told the board they’re working to get as many local breweries and winemakers as possible signed up by then.

The first year the sales will be through a beer distributor, High Peaks Distributing of Saranac Lake, but one local brewery has already signed up, Connell said, and another is interested.

“It the future, it will be all local breweries,” Connell said. “We can’t start with all local breweries. Local breweries and wineries are tremendous economic development in New York state.”

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