I know many years ago, the city of Baltimore stopped allowing free-flow street drinking within the festival boundaries…But why, I do not know.
This new ‘beer garden’ concept does not work – at least not for the families and responsible adults that patronize the businesses and vendors this particular weekend. In the beginning, the beer garden along Broadway, just outside the pubs, amongst the vendors, wasn’t so bad. But now, the beer garden is 4 blocks from the heart of the Festival, with no shade, on a stone parking lot, and not exactly a ‘family welcoming’ environment.
(This is what the festival should be all about...supporting local musicians & artists! How can we see these guys if we are 4 blocks away playing beer pong/flip cup in the garden?)
To make matters worse, when I decided to grab a pit beef sandwich for me & my boys from a vendor @ Broadway & Thames, I also decided that a great Clipper City draft would compliment the food quite well. Unfortunately I had to leave my sandwich and boys outside with Mr Festival as I fought my way thru the incredibly concentrated crowd in and around the bar…(FYI: back in the ‘olden days’, this wasn’t the case as there would have been beer vendors throughout the festival or you could pop in/out of pubs, grab a beer & continue on about the festivities)..23 minutes later I emerge back outside and was forced to sit – with my children, instead of along the water’s edge as planned – I had to sit on a street curb, just outside Shuckers Pub, amongst the drunken crowd within a little imaginary boundary that the bouncer would permit. We were treated like a caged animal and yelled at when I proceeded to leave to find a recycling bin for my EMPTY plastic beer cup.
I understand pub owners don’t want beer distributors/vendors too close to their facilities…then allow the pubs to set up their own outside bars. The festival ends each day @ 7pm, and from my experience – only us ‘families’ head home. Everyone else we saw stumble from the beer garden - heads straight for the closest watering hole for more of the same.
City of Baltimore, I BEG YOU…treat your festival patrons with the same respect ALL other festivals around the world do - let us wander your streets (albeit barricaded streets) at a leisurely pace, spending our hard earned $$$, all the while enjoying the company of a frothy pint. It’s the European/American way!
(And it sure beats chug-a-lugging while sitting on a dirty street curb)