Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, December 14, 1998

Bailey's tailgate party worked out with city

By LUIS E. PUGA

Winsted ­ Bailey's Tavern and Grill has worked things out with the City of Winsted to conduct a tailgate party for the next Vikings football game.

The final okay was obtained through a combination of clearing up past miscommunications and making some assurances to the city and police.

The issue started around the end of October. Initially, the tailgate party was to be held for the Winsted Wildcats baseball team.

Although the Wildcats backed out, owner Kim Hirsch and manger Rose Heimerl still thought the idea was a good one so they went ahead with planning a party for the Vikings-Jacksonville game Sunday, Dec. 20.

Heimerl and Hirsch wanted to talk to the city about the party to see if the event could be held. Said Heimerl, "What we wanted to be sure is if we needed any permits or anything from the city."

Heimerl admits that the initial contact, a vague phone message to the city, was probably misleading. She expected a call back, but was surprised to see that the issue was taken up at a city council meeting.

Since the issue never got officially on the agenda, Bailey's wasn't informed about its discussion ahead of time.

"They were under the assumption that we were going to put a keg in the parking lot," said Hirsch.

Apparently, the council understood that the party was just going to be outside, with patrons bringing drinks in and out to the parking lot. It wasn't until the last meeting that City Administrator Aaron Reeves brought up the fenced-in volleyball court.

In November, the city had given tentative permission. But upon further investigation by City Attorney Fran Eggert, the city decided to give no opinion since outside distribution and consumption of alcohol required an adjustment in Bailey's liquor license. Rather, the council left it as a matter for the police to handle.

Bailey's was again surprised with the decision, not knowing that it was still being discussed. This time, they talked to the police to see what the concerns were.

"If they had a problem with us having it, we wanted to know," said Heimerl.

The police's concerns were about noise control, beers being passed through the fence, and that the keg be kept inside.

Bailey's plans were always to keep the beer inside. The bar would sell the glasses up front and the keg would also be inside. Patrons would be allowed to have beer in the volleyball court, but access to that court would only be for adults.

Said Hirsch, "They were worried about minors getting in. No, we'll be monitoring that."

In fact, Bailey's plans to have a monitor in the yard. Patrons will have to have a hand stamp in order to enter the yard.

Moreover, Hirsch and Heimerl plan to put a tarp over the fence so alcohol will not be able to be passed through the fence. In one area where there is a hole, Hirsch plans to have it repaired.

Bailey's also plans to move the party inside by halftime or 9 p.m. They'll also move it inside if it gets out of hand or if any neighbors complain. Hirsch plans to go door to door to discuss it with neighbors and to encourage them to call if they have any problems.

There will, of course, be some fun activities planned for the tailgate bash. A $25 prize will be awarded to the best dressed fan and food specials will be sloppy joes. The TV will be outside for people to enjoy the game, and some trivia will also be planned.

After the initial confusion, the two women have a good attitude about it. Said Heimerl, "It's nobody's fault. It's just a lot of miscommunication."


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