No longer ‘dry,’ Bridgewater Country Fair serves beer for first time since 1935
Published 10:31 am, Wednesday, August 10, 2016
BRIDGEWATER — Although the town went “wet” in 2014, a commercial drop of booze has yet to be publicly poured in Bridgewater. That changes Aug. 19 at the Bridgewater Country Fair when a beer garden opens shop for the weekend.
The hope: more money for the Bridgewater Volunteer Fire Department.
Until 2014, the town was dry due to a 1935 law that kept restaurants or bars from pouring. While the law changed November 2014, it changed for restaurants and bars that didn’t yet exist, and still don’t. The first applicable venue will open this fall: A restaurant that will serve alcohol is being built in the Bridgewater Village Store.
But before the eatery opens, people can get a taste of a “wet” Bridgewater at the 65th country fair. There, folks will be able to sip from several varieties of beer thanks to a special permit provided by the town, said First Selectman Curtis Read
That permit was contingent on the town being “wet,”of course, Read said, adding that he hopes the beer garden will provide thirsty patrons what they haven’t been allowed to have since 1935. The proceeds form beer sales will also help the fire department, he said.
“They have to raise money to buy new equipment,” Read said. “That gets more expensive every year.”
The fire department relies on the fair for funding. The department, an all-volunteer squad, is not funded by taxes, and it’s future depends entirely on donations and fundraisers.
“We always look for a way to boost our revenue,” said Eric Gsell, the fire department’s chief. The sale of Millers, Blue Moons, and some Connecticut craft brews should greatly impact the department’s takeaway, he added.
While beer is now allowed for public consumption at the fair, the newly “wet” event will still be far from a lawless prohibitionist’s nightmare, Gsell said.
The fire department — and the department’s Women's Auxiliary, who will help staff the garden — will limit people to one beer per transaction outside the garden, and two beers per buyer in the beer garden.
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