SandFest seeks permit for beer garden
If the organization can obtain the proper permits, beer and wine will be served in a beer garden on the SandFest grounds on the second day of the event that’s scheduled for April 15-17, said Betty Crawford, president of the SandFest board of directors.
The Port Aransas City Council is scheduled today, Thursday, Dec. 16, to consider an action to grant SandFest the city’s permission to serve alcohol. SandFest organizers also must get permission from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
The city council also is scheduled today to decide whether to grant SandFest a special event permit.
SandFest brings in master sand sculptors from throughout the country each year. The professional artists work for hours in public view, sculpting large, fantastical creations from the sand. Amateurs also compete in separate divisions.
SandFest is one of the most popular events of the year in Port Aransas, drawing more than 100,000 people to the beach during its annual three-day run.
Crawford said SandFest is seeking to serve alcohol because “some people on our board kind of thought it would be nice, and a lot of people have asked why we don’t have beer here.”
SandFest organizers haven’t allowed alcohol sales previously because they were trying to make sure it would be a family-friendly event, Crawford said.
But SandFest increasingly has been finding it difficult each year to raise the money it needs to keep operating. That’s a big part of the reason for the decision to sell beer and wine, Crawford said.
Last year, SandFest for the first time began roping off the section where professional sand sculptors work, and admission was charged to get inside the area for a closer look. That income helped, but it still isn’t enough, Crawford said.
SandFest previously has relied largely on sponsors to pay for expenses, Crawford said, but it has been getting harder and harder to find enough sponsors. Crawford said she doesn’t think alcohol sales will cause SandFest to be rowdy.
“I don’t think so, because we will close (the beer garden) down, like, at 6 p.m.,” she said.