Whittle organizers: New alcohol policy had little impact | CraigDailyPress.com

Whittle organizers: New alcohol policy had little impact

Ben McCanna

Brec Ronis, a member of the Northwest Colorado Chapter of Parrotheads, takes drink orders Saturday from a concession stand during the Whittle the Wood Rendezvous in Craig City Park. Organizers changed the alcohol policy at this year's event by not allowing event visitors to bring their own beverages.
Ben McCanna

Dave Pike, Craig Parks and Recreation director, said the policy to limit alcohol at this year's Whittle the Wood Rendezvous was inevitable.

"The BYOB thing was too good to be true," he said. "We were probably the last venue in the state that allowed that."

Pike was referring to a tradition as old as the Rendezvous itself: visitors being allowed to bring their own alcohol to the event.

This year, outside alcoholic beverages were not permitted into Craig City Park. Instead, concession stands were set up within the park to sell draft beer and pre-mixed cocktails.

Pike said he expected an outpouring of complaints. Those complaints never materialized, he said.

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"I was really impressed that we had little to no complaints," he said. "Everybody was so cool about it. It's almost like I want to thank everybody for being as understanding as they were."

Bill Ronis, a member of the Northwest Colorado Chapter of Parrotheads, said his organization partnered with the Craig Chamber of Commerce to provide concessions. He served as co-chairperson for the vending partnership.

Asked if he'd encountered anyone upset about the alcohol policy change, Ronis had a quick answer.

"Not a one," he said.

Parrothead volunteers also provided check-in services at the entrance gates throughout the day Saturday. Ronis said no one tried to get around the new rules.

"We haven't had anybody try to sneak anything in," he said.

The revenue from the concessions will be split three ways. One-third goes to the Parrotheads, one-third goes to the Chamber and one-third goes to the city.

Ronis said the Parrotheads' share will help fund scholarships for local students.

Christina Oxley, Chamber executive director, said she wasn't yet sure how her organization would spend money it made from the concessions.

"We've got a lot of different projects that we'd like to turn it toward," she said.

Oxley added that it was difficult to forecast how much money the concessions would bring in.

"It could be a really fantastic event or nothing at all," she said.

Pike said the city would use its share to defray the cost of the two bands at this year's event – The Outlaws and Filthy Children.

"Overall, the biggest expense for the event is the entertainment. So, that's what it's going to go toward," he said.

As of Sunday afternoon, Pike said the earnings from the concessions hadn't been tallied.

Oxley said this year's event was less attended than previous years, and the new policy may have played a factor. She'd heard rumors that some people might boycott the retooled event.

"It might take a year or two for people to get used to a new standard," she said. "Turnout has been a little low this year, but it will recover."

Pike agreed attendance was lower than usual, but for different reasons, he contends.

"I would say the crowd was a wee bit smaller than usual, but I think that was probably (due to) weather," he said. "Weather was a little bit sketchy during the warm-up band. … I saw quite a few people running for cover."

Ronis said if there's a reason reaction to the new policy was limited, it might have had something to do with pricing.

"We're selling the beer kind of cheap — three bucks," he said. "It's more like $5 at the concerts in Steamboat. So, I don't think anyone has any room to complain."

Click here to visit the Whittle the Wood website.

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