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Columbia City Fair will sell alcohol despite objections from councilman


If Charles C. Feaga, a Howard County councilman and chairman of the liquor board, had his way, the three-day Columbia City Fair would be a dry affair.

Mr. Feaga has sent a letter to the operators of the June 21-23 fair, arguing that in the past, serving beer, wine and mixed drinks "has been a factor in the disturbances which have occurred where the police department has had to intervene."

In sending the letter, Mr. Feaga said he was writing not as chairman of the liquor board, but as a citizen who has a "deep concern" about the availability of alcoholic beverages at the Columbia fair.

The councilman, a Republican representing western Howard County, noted that the annual Howard County Fair does not allow the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Mr. Feaga's concern, however, will not have much impact on the fair.

Connie Matheson, director of the Columbia Birthday Celebration, said a member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving raised the same issue at last year's fair. She said the organization's board of directors reviewed the matter in January and decided to continue selling alcoholic beverages but stop serving an hour before the fair closes each night.

Ms. Matheson added that the county police department told her that the sale of alcohol was not linked to a fistfight among youths that broke out on the last day of last year's fair. The three-day event draws in excess of 60,000 people.

In addition, Ms. Matheson said fair officials hold a training session for the community groups that sell alcoholic beverages at the fair to tell them not to serve underaged drinkers or sell to anyone under the influence. She said the fair's board of directors will re-examine the issue of whether to serve alcoholic beverages before next year's event.

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