For years, a popular community tradition involved local residents camping at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265, waiting in line for their first crack at tickets to the annual Craig Kiwanis Club play.
The tailgating tradition, of sorts, also involved residents having alcoholic beverages.
This year, however, that tradition as it was known comes to a close.
The VFW contends that residents having open liquor containers on post property puts the organization’s liquor license at risk.
“They drank too much, they dug up our parking lot, and by allowing them to drink in the parking lot, it’s jeopardizing our liquor license,” said Larry Neu, VFW post quartermaster and a Kiwanis Club member.
The Kiwanis play, an annual event that lampoons community residents and events from the past year, is scheduled for March 5 and 6 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion. Tickets go on sale at 6 p.m. Feb. 12 at the VFW.
This year, to curb the problem, the VFW will not allow camping or drinking and will no longer be keeping track of people waiting in line until 1 p.m. the day of the ticket sales.
“If the liquor inspector would come and they would have open containers on our premises, we are the ones that are going to get in trouble,” Neu said.
Craig City Manager Jim Ferree said the drinking and camping has not been an issue in the past “because it’s been going on so long that no one thought about the liquor license issues.”
“In the past, a lot of people didn’t come down because there was a lot of people lined up there, and I want to assure everybody that they can show up last minute and we’ll still have tickets,” Neu said.
Despite the rule changes, Ferree and Neu agreed that ticket sales are not expected to be impacted.
The campers have totaled as many as 70 in past years, but numbers have been declining in recent years.
It also is illegal to have open containers of alcohol in the nearby Craig City Park, Ferree said.
The majority of Kiwanis members are “in agreement with the decision because in years past, it was the club and the VFW having to police the line,” Neu said.
This year, the two organizations will still be policing the line, but expect much less “nuisance.” If things “get out of control or the rules are being ignored, they’ll just call us,” Ferree said.
The Kiwanis play is in its 63rd year. All proceeds fund the organization’s scholarship fund.
Ferree is serving as this year’s play chairman. He said work on the play is coming along nicely, although the script hasn’t been written yet.
“It’s a work in progress,” Ferree said. “Quality productions take time to create.”
Craig Ford is hosting a blind auction Feb. 5 for a table at the play performances.
Winners will be able to choose the location of their table.