LaGrange considering modifying alcohol ordinance for special events

Published 8:00 am Friday, March 17, 2023

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At the request of the Downtown LaGrange Development Authority (DLDA), the City of LaGrange is considering modifying its ordinance that allows alcohol to be sold and consumed outside during approved special events in downtown.

Currently, the special events ordinance allows businesses inside the downtown district to serve alcohol in front of their businesses for special events.

DLDA Director Bill Hunnicutt said an issue has come up with two upcoming events, the St. Patrick’s Day Block Party and the Spring Artisan’s Festival, planned for Ridley Ave.

Hunnicutt said the St. Patrick’s Day event this weekend will be on both Bull and Main St. but the main event is going to be on Bull St. The street will be blocked off, so only businesses on Bull St. will be allowed to sell outdoor alcohol for the block party.

“The restaurants and bars on Main St. were upset and had asked if they could put up a tent [to sell drinks] together on Bull St, but because of that ordinance they can’t,” Hunnicutt said.

No one would be able to sell alcohol for the upcoming Spring Artisan Market either because there is no bar or restaurant on Ridley Ave., Hunnicutt said.

“What we’re asking you to change is when we have a special event inside the downtown district, that businesses inside the downtown district can be a vendor and can serve alcohol in a tent in the special event district so that we’re not hindering our downtown vendors from working together and having an event,” Hunnicutt said.

“We would need to change that ordinance so those downtown visitors could move inside the district and not have to be right in front of their stores,” he said.

Hunnicutt acknowledged that it’s too late to help the St. Patrick’s Day event this weekend, but it could be modified for the Artisan’s Market on April 29.

“We have come up with some alternative ways to keep the Main St. folks happy this year for St. Patrick’s Day. We’re hoping to grow that event into a two-street event anyway. Instead of a tent, they asked if they could pay for a band, their own band on Main St,” Hunnicutt said. “We’ll have them both going. so it will feel more like a small music festival.”

Hunnicutt said they are hoping the event evolves into the older crowd on one street with more of a family atmosphere and the bar crowd on the other street with more of a bar feel that everybody can move around in.

City Manager Meg Kelsey said she and city staff would work with the DLDA to create a modified ordinance for the council to consider.