Patrons to next month’s Blueberry festival will be able to buy beer and wine at Hernando Park.
County commissioners voted 4-1 Tuesday to allow festival organizers to sell on county property and the city of Brooksville will assume liability insurance.
County commissioners reversed an earlier 3-2 vote to allow consumption during the May 4-5 event at Hernando Park in downtown Brooksville. Commission Chairman Dave Russell was the sole nay vote, declining to give reasons.
Commissioner Wayne Dukes said he supported the measure only because the city is taking liability risk.
“I have never thought the county should be in the beer and wine-selling business, period,” Dukes said.
Hernando County sells it during some county-sponsored events, such as the annual Bluesapalooza, but there is always the risk of a drunk person getting into an accident and killing someone, Dukes said.
And even with insurance, “there isn’t enough money in the world for us to cover that,” Dukes said.
County Commissioner Nick Nicholson, who last month told a festival organizer to appeal to the city of Brooksville for any monetary assistance, supported Tuesday’s measure with the caveat that organizers use the proceeds to help fund next year’s event.
Hernando County’s tourist development council chipped in money this year but that well will be dry in 2014 so it is incumbent upon festival organizers to learn to become financially self-sufficient, said Nicholson, adding that the county would not take money out of its general fund.