Group may add Thursday events to Port beer garden

Weekday dates would take the place of last Saturdays on schedule
Ozaukee Press staff

Port Washington’s beer garden will return this summer, but there may be a change in the schedule this year, the Common Council was told Monday.

Justin Myers, president of the Friends of Port Washington Parks and Recreation, told aldermen that the group is considering eliminating the last two beer gardens of the season and substitute two Thursday dates in August.

The beer garden runs on Saturdays from July 4 through mid-October, but Myers said attendance at the last two events has been relatively low, probably because they typically fall on the same weekends as homecoming and the Fall Street Festival.

To replace these dates, he said, the Friends group, which organizes the beer gardens, is considering hosting beer gardens on Thursday, Aug. 10 and 24.

There are enough civic groups who would like to host the beer gardens to hold these two alternative days, Myers said.

And since the groups that host the beer gardens split the profits at the end of the season, this would help maximize profits for those organizations.

  Ald. Dan Benning questioned why the Thursday beer gardens would be held in August.

“Why not June?” he asked. “Why do we skip June?”

Holding the events earlier in the season, when weather is less of a factor, could be beneficial, Benning said.

Myers said there has been talk of moving up the opening date for the beer garden, but the Fourth of July seems to be a “big bang start.”

“It’s not off the table,” he said of the idea of starting earlier.

Myers told aldermen that last year’s beer gardens were a success, with 14 groups participating. One additional group had to drop out, so a collaborative group of organizations hosted the Labor Day event.

At the end of the year, he said, each group received a check for $917, plus they retained all the tips they got for their beer garden.

Groups that also provided or cooked their own food during their beer garden received checks for $1,213, plus their tips, he said.

“We believe the beer garden series is going well,” Myers said. “We feel very good.”

Myers noted that applications from civic groups who want to host beer gardens this year were due Tuesday, Feb. 28, and 15 groups had already applied to hold the events.

Other groups, he said, are asking to be food vendors on weeks when the hosting organization doesn’t want to take on this task.

Benning noted that there have been some issues with the beer garden, notably parking.

In recent years, there were some Saturdays when people parked along the road through Upper Lake Park, making it difficult for others to drive through the park. At times, the Police Department has been called to ticket offenders, a move that upset many patrons of the beer garden and the civic groups.

“I think, from my chair, parking is going to be our No. 1 issue,” Myers said.

But, he said, he would need to talk to his board to see if there are other things the city could do to help with the beer gardens

Wendy Braam, another member of the Friends of Parks and Recreation and the beer garden organizing group, said additional signs denoting where people can park would be helpful.

“The people visiting the beer garden seem to be confused over where they can park,” she said.


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