Latrobe to allow alcohol sales at banana split festival
Visitors who are 21 or older will be able to buy and drink alcoholic beverages at this year’s Great American Banana Split Celebration in Latrobe.
City Council on Monday agreed to allow vendors selected by event organizers to serve beer and wine at two designated locations along Main Street on the festival grounds.
“We think it will be an additional draw for the celebration and for Latrobe,” said Isaac McDaniel, who is directing the event Aug. 23-25 for the Greater Latrobe-Laurel Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Obviously, we want to do it safely. We’re working closely with the chief of police.”
The festival committee is making arrangements for area craft breweries and wineries to offer alcoholic beverages at the event, which celebrates Latrobe’s claim as the birthplace of the banana split.
One vendor will offer sales in a parking lot near Westmoreland Federal Savings, where the main stage will be located. A second lot, across from the Olde Main theatrical space, will have up to nine alcohol vendors. That space will be limited to people 21 or older. It will be far from an area set aside for children’s activities, McDaniel said.
Alcohol sales will begin at noon and will end an hour before the festival closes each day.
Organizers originally proposed a third site for alcohol sales on Ligonier Street, but that site would have been “too far removed, so we reduced it to two locations,” police Chief John Sleasman said.
Sleasman said festival organizers agreed to comply with his additional requests.
“All of my concerns have been met,” he said. “I think it’s going to be safe and a good event.”
Alcohol sales must be conducted by certified bartenders in an enclosed area. People buying alcoholic beverages must have their ID checked and be given a wristband, and beverages may not be served in glass containers.
“We talked about limiting the amount of beverages they sell to one person, but that’s still up in the air,” Sleasman said.
Organizers will pay for two Latrobe police officers to conduct roving patrols during the festival, including the lots designated for alcohol sales and other areas, Sleasman said.
The festival committee also must include the city among parties covered by the event insurance and must sign an indemnification agreement being prepared by Latrobe’s solicitor.
Approval of the alcohol sales passed by a 5-1 vote, with Eric Bartels opposed and Jim Kelley absent during that portion of the meeting. Bartels has said he doesn’t object to people enjoying alcohol while attending a concert but doesn’t think it’s appropriate for the Latrobe event.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .