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Kalispell Approves Special License for Brewfest in Woodland Park
Adult hockey tournament planning to add beer festival at March event
As a test case for analyzing alcohol consumption on public property, the city of Kalispell will allow a beer festival in Woodland Park during an upcoming adult hockey fundraiser.

The city council voted 8-0 Monday night in favor of issuing a special event permit to the Flathead Valley Hockey Association allowing alcohol to be served during the second annual Craft Brewers Ice Hockey Challenge, slated for March 1-2. Councilor Jeff Zauner was absent for the vote.

The event will feature adult teams from across the state and Canada playing in games and competitions Friday and Saturday as a fundraiser for the Woodland Ice Center, which is owned by the FVHA.

As a way to expand the fundraiser this year, organizers wanted to include a beer festival on Saturday afternoon between competitions and approached the city asking for changes in the municipal code to allow alcohol consumption and sales at the city park, which is prohibited.

Kim Morisaki, speaking on behalf of the FVHA, said the brewfest would stay within the Ice Center’s enclosed area, and attendees would be required to show valid identification to receive a wristband to enter the event. FVHA must shoulder liabilities by insuring the event.

The council agreed that security personnel and the fenced-in facility would address concerns related to underage drinking. Councilors said they would like to address the larger topic of alcohol at city parks in the future and would use this one-time event as an experiment.

“I look at this as an opportunity to preview how this is going to work,” Councilor Kari Gabriel said. “I’m very much opposed to kids drinking but this is an adult event that will be supervised.”

Kalispell resident Joe Apple once again spoke out against the proposal during public comment, pronouncing the harmful ramifications that can be linked to alcohol use.

“I think we’re setting a horrible precedent with the passing of this,” Apple said, adding, “It obviously sets a bad example for our children, our youth and our adults.”
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