Alcohol Policy at Racine County Fair Leads to Nearly Zero Arrests
It's something we take for granted here in Wisconsin: attending a summertime fair or festival and going anywhere you want with a beer in your hand.
But did you know there's one event where you cannot do that?
The Racine County Fair started serving alcohol in the 80's, but Sheriff Christopher Schmaling says the way its served is the reason the fair is so safe.
Crowds...games....good food. Racine has everything you expect from a county fair. But one thing you may not: no alcohol in anyone's hands as they're walking around.
"They have to consume those beverages inside the building and can't walk around the fairgrounds with those items. My deputies see to it with that and it's never been a problem," said Sheriff Schmaling.
It's a policy that's been around for decades. Fair goers can only drink beer and wine inside of one of three places: the grandstand, the activities building, and the wine garden.
"We just come back to this is what we do, and it's a family event and we just want everyone to have a great time," said Scott Gunderson, president of the Racine County Fair.
And apparently it's a policy that works.
"To make an arrest here is rare. More often than not we go the entire five days of this fair without having to arrest a soul," said Schmaling.
Schmaling says his officers rarely see people at the fair who are highly intoxicated, but if it happens the goal is to get them out and get them home safely.
"My deputies presence out here is not to arrest people. It's to make certain that families and visitors and guests can have a good time. And if we do see someone who's had too much to drink, our focus is on getting them home safely," said the Sheriff.
The beer tents start serving at 11 AM and stop serving at 11 PM. They close the doors by 11:45 PM.