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Was alcohol necessary at BBQ event?

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I am writing this letter to offer an alternative view of the recent Smoke on the Mountain Barbecue Contest.
The Gazette’s coverage of the event extolled its atmosphere and the quality with which it was conducted.
Mr. McGee of the Memphis Barbecue Network praised the event in his letter to the editor. I have no doubt that a lot of people worked long and hard hours to make this a success, and for that I commend them.
However, I would like to point out something with which I take great exception. That is the placement of the “beer garden” and Budweiser truck on Main Street.
The past couple of years the “beer garden” was on Grayson Street, and if memory serves, the first couple of contests had no alcohol service.
I would question what type of image of the city and area does this present? If someone came down Main Street, they could easily conclude that the city condones and even encourages consumption of alcohol in public. This is a crime any other time of the year.
Why change the rules for this event? The answer to me is rather obvious. Event organizers wish to create a party atmosphere in which revelers can have “a good time.”
What does consumption of beer in public have to do with barbecue, anyhow? The answer is simple: nothing.
However, the beer distributor has probably provided some sponsorship money in exchange for the privilege of distributing its product. So, in the end, it comes down to money.
If you are concerned about this as I am, I urge you to prayerfully consider the matter as I have and draw your own conclusions.
If you feel directed to do so, let city leaders and downtown merchants know you are disturbed with this public display of drinking in our fair city.
I am sure they will at least listen to our concerns, and hopefully changes can be made. Consider this a clarion call to action. It is not too late to change things for the better.
Bill Duncan
Galax