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Beer Sales After Chili Cookoff To Pour Profits Into Archbold Chamber

“It’s not a beer tent,” said Nanette Buehrer, director of the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce.

There will be more than just beer, and there may not even be a tent, she said.

The Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce is in the process of applying for a special type of liquor permit that would allow them to sell beer during the Chili Cookoff, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 4.

Archbold Village Council approved the plans at its Monday night, Aug. 18, meeting.

Side Street Café

Tentatively, Buehrer is calling the area where beer will be served the “Side Street Café.”

There will be more than just beer. There will be appetizers, snacks, and soft drinks.

She’s working on getting a band, and is trying to arrange for at least one big-screen television so patrons can watch sporting events or keep up on scores.

There’s also a plan to offer corn hole, the popular beanbag tossing game.

Plans call for the café to be fenced off. It will be located on West Holland Street, between Ditto Street and North Defiance Street.

While the cookoff will run from 11 am to 3 pm, beer sales won’t begin until 2 pm, and will finish at 5 pm.

Admission to the Side Street Café will be strictly limited to those 21 years of age and older. Parents pushing strollers or with toddlers in tow will not be allowed inside.

Another strictly enforced rule will be no one leaves the café with a drop of alcohol.

As part of the liquor permit application process, she had to submit a site plan showing the fenced-off area.

Volunteers will monitor the beer sales area, checking identifi cations and making sure no one takes beer from the area.

“We may or may not use a tent,” she said. That decision will be made later.

Chamber Board

Buehrer said when she first took over the executive director position at the chamber, “one of the first things people said was, ‘are you having the chili cookoff?'”

Programs like the cookoff and Carp Festival are expensive propositions.

She said the chamber needs to make “a concerted effort to raise funds.”

Buehrer said she discussed the Side Street Café concept with the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

“There was discussion about the need to generate some revenue. This has the potential to grow into a bigger event.

“I think it’s fair to say the board, at their September meeting, will discuss it in more detail, and consider comments from the community.”

The board meets again Wednesday, Sept. 3.

Another factor is the liquor permit itself.

“Until such time as that is received and in our hands, nothing is for sure,” she said.

When asked if she had received comments from the community about the Side Street Café concept, she said yes.

Some people “are very happy and glad to see that there will be a community event where they can sit down and have a beer with friends.

“Other people are expressing concern that we are promoting alcohol and drinking. They’re asking what kind of an example this provides for youth.”

She said, “We are trying to be sensitive to the issue.”

That’s why beer sales will be offered away from the area where the chili is being served, in the middle of the afternoon for a limited time.

Additionally, she said the café might be an opportunity for adults to model responsible drinking.

“It’s an appropriate way to have a drink or two with friends and have a good time,” she said.

Cookoff Changes

Buehrer said the chamber is making some changes in the chili cookoff.

Participation will be limited to the first 20 non-profit agencies.

Those participating will be required to get a temporary food vendor license, “which is easy to get, and we’ll help them get it,” she said.

People attending the event will be able to buy wristbands that will allow them to taste chili.

With the temporary license, vendors can sell chili by the bowl, plus other food and drink products.

Buehrer said the chamber will take a portion of the wristband sales.

The better the sales, the better the proceeds will be for the chamber and the non-profit organizations.

Additionally, there will be cash awards for the chili competition.

There will be a judges’ choice award that will pay $150, a $100 award for the people’s choice, and $100 for most unique taste.

This year, electricity will be provided to each booth.

Returning this year is the kid’s bicycle parade, which Buehrer said will start promptly at 11 am.- David Pugh

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