Utah liquor rule change means Park Silly Market is ‘beer only’ for two weekends

Posted at 2:13 PM, Aug 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-19 19:16:17-04

PARK CITY -- A tweak to Utah's liquor rules has resulted in the popular Park Silly Sunday Market being forced to stop serving cocktails for two weekends.

Instead, they'll have to switch to 3.2 beer.

The Park Silly Sunday Market has a single-event permit, which allows it serve liquor in a designated area 12 times for 72-hour periods. The problem is, Park Silly is 14 weeks long.

"Up until this year, we were advised on how to get around the original 12 and that was to use a proxy," Park Silly Sunday Market Executive Director Kate McChesney said in an interview Friday with FOX 13.

A sign for the Park Silly Sunday Market on Main Street in Park City. (Image by Pete Deluca III, FOX 13 News)

A sign for the Park Silly Sunday Market on Main Street in Park City. (Image by Pete Deluca III, FOX 13 News)

That proxy was a caterer for Park Silly, who would apply for a separate single-event permit, allowing them to fill out the 14 weeks. Asked whose idea it was to use a proxy, McChesney replied: "the DABC."

But this year, the DABC denied the caterer's request for another single event permit, citing the change in the rules.

"It wasn't the intent of the law to have a loophole where somebody could apply for more permits than the 12," said DABC spokesman Terry Wood.

Single-event permits are used by festivals and community events all over the state to serve alcohol. They got heightened scrutiny when Snowbird was almost denied one for its annual Oktoberfest celebrations. The idea of "Oktoberfest without beer" triggered international headlines and a tongue-lashing from the Utah State Legislature against the DABC.

Park Silly Sunday Market

Tweaks were made to the rules in response, which led to the elimination of "proxy permits." Wood said the rule change was made after a public comment period last year, with input from licensees and representatives of the hospitality and club industries.

The Park Silly Market may be a victim of unintended consequences. The Utah Shakespearean Festival and the traveling show "Cavalia" have been in similar situations with single-event permits.

McChesney is not upset with the DABC, saying the agency has tried to help them within the confines of the law.

"It's not whether or not we have alcohol. It's more or less about having 200 vendors, amazing music, it's a free event, people on the street all day long," she said. "If they just happen to have a cocktail in their hand at 7,000 feet, that's great."

Park Silly is already making the most of having to go two weekends without spirits, planning to host a "beer fest" on one Sunday.

"For the opening day of football, we're going to have a tailgating party," she said. "So it works out really well."

Wood said it would be up to the Utah State Legislature if it wished to make changes to the law allowing for more than 12 times allowed under a single-event permit. McChesney said they will consider next year at whether to approach lawmakers and ask for changes.