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City issues guidelines for holding street festivals

By Mark Wineka
mwineka@salisburypost.com
If community groups want to hold a festival on the new brick-paved portion of East Fisher Street, they now have official city guidelines to follow.
The Salisbury City Council passed a Street Festival and Special Events Ordinance Tuesday that spells out things such as the permits needed, how streets would be closed off, the type of promotional signs allowed and how alcohol can be served within designated areas.
The new ordinance, which applies only to the Municipal Service District, would cover events such as Pops at the Post, the regular Friday Nights out in downtown Salisbury and any future festivals planned for locations such as the 100 block of East Fisher Street or Easy Street.
Joe Morris, planning and community development manager for the city, said “street festivals” are generally considered public activities sponsored by community organizations, arts groups and other nonprofit organizations. “Special events” are more business-driven by restaurants, companies, wineries and other for-profit entities.
In drafting the ordinance, the city received technical assistance from N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement relating to the proper serving of beer and wine.
Access to areas where alcohol is served must be restricted to people 21 or older.
For street festivals, the contents of beer bottles and cans and wine bottles must be poured into plastic cups or plastic glasses.
Also for street festivals, one or more representatives of the organization selling alcoholic beverages under a one-time ABC permit have to be certified by the N.C. ABC Board’s “Be a Responsible Seller” program.
For special events, beer and wine must be sold in and consumed from their original containers.
Except for sworn law enforcement officers, the possession of firearms at street festivals or special events is prohibited.
Applicants for street festival and special event permits must provide certificates of insurance showing they have liability insurance with a minimum limit of $1 million for the premises.
Applicants also must submit a site map showing where things such as a stage area, concessions, tables, seating and parking will be located, plus any places where streets will be closed.
Randy Hemann, executive director of Downtown Salisbury Inc., said the new ordinance is part of a logical progression toward having more street festivals and after-hours events. The Downtown Salisbury Inc. board endorsed the ordinance, and DSI worked with the city planning staff and Salisbury Police Department in drafting the document.
Staff also researched similar ordinances in Mount Airy, Asheville, Concord and Charlotte.
Mayor Susan Kluttz said the Cultural Action Plan Task Force, of which she and Councilman Mark Lewis are members, also endorsed the ordinance. She said the ordinance is needed for Salisbury to expand its downtown offering of events.
Councilman William “Pete” Kennedy said it was a move into the 21st century.

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