Festival visitors during WEG can carry open alcoholic beverages downtown

People will be allowed to carry open alcoholic beverage containers in a large section of downtown during the Spotlight Lexington Festival, the city's celebration of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

The festival zone designation will be in effect for 17 days from Sept. 24 — the day before the Games begin — through Oct. 10. The festival will bring entertainment, arts and crafts and other activities to three downtown locations each day.

"It is just like when we create a festival area for the Fourth of July, only much bigger," said Penny Ebel, the city's special events coordinator

Boundaries of the festival zone will extend from High Street to Second Street and from Midland Avenue to Jefferson Street.

Still, there are some restrictions. Alcohol that is carried along the street must be bought from a licensed street vendor, not purchased in a bar or restaurant. Alcohol bought in a bar must be consumed on the premises, Ebel said.

However, Lexington police are not gearing up for strict enforcement of that rule, because it would be extremely difficult for police to know where an alcoholic beverage was purchased, said Sherrell Roberts, spokeswoman for the Lexington police department.

"Our main focus will be to make sure if people are outside, they're in the festival zone," Roberts said. "That is what we will be looking for."

Applebee's will be the only vendor licensed to sell beer. Wine and liquor will be sold in a tent called the Taste of Brown-Forman, said Krista Greathouse, the city's coordinator for the Games.

The city's Special Events Commission established the festival boundaries earlier this summer.

Alcohol also will be sold at the Kentucky Horse Park during the Games.

Two concessions companies hired by the World Games 2010 Foundation, the event's organizers, have licenses to sell beer, liquor and wine. That has always been the case for concessionaires at the park, said park director John Nicholson.

One of the companies, Buona Group, is handling general concessions; the other, Patina, will provide VIP and hospitality food and drink. Nicholson said there even will be a champagne bar in the main concessions area.

Earlier this year, some state lawmakers pushed a bill to allow free bourbon tastings at the Games, but that effort failed in the legislature.

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