City Allows Alcohol at Riverfront Events

Wilmington, NC – The city's adding some adult flavor to events along Wilmington's waterfront.

The City Council approved a new policy Tuesday night to allow special events to sell alcohol in Riverfront Park between Market and Princess streets.

Events have to apply for a permit and pay a fee. The policy stipulates that any money raised from alcohol sales must go to non-profit groups.

Wilmington's Parks and Recreation Director Gary Shell says the city started moving in the direction of alcohol sales with a series of Friday Night concerts this summer. The event, which Shell characterized as a success, was organized by Wilmington Downtown and sold beer as a fundraiser for local non-profits, including WHQR.

Shell says he's received several permit requests so far.

The first beneficiary of the new policy will be the opening party for the Cucalorus film festival in November. Cucalorus director Dan Brawley says his festival might have used another venue without the new policy.

According to Brawley, selling beer will help attract not only the public to the party, but also sponsors.

"Even people who aren't in the alcohol business, you've got Red Bull and some of your other soft drinks who, if they know you're going to have a big event and they know you're going to sell alcohol, they'll jump in and they'll rent tents for you and they'll do all sorts of support."

City officials say they hope the sale of alcohol at riverfront events will attract more people to the downtown. There are no plans to allow alcohol sales in other city parks.