Snowmass makes a toast to charity |

Snowmass makes a toast to charity

Joel StoningtonAspen, CO Colorado

SNOWMASS VILLAGE Snowmass Village is encouraging people to come to this year’s free concert series and booze it up for charity. The profits from alcohol sales at the popular series will benefit area nonprofits, the town announced Tuesday.”It’s a goodwill gesture, of course,” said Susan Hamley, the town’s marketing director. “We know some people are disappointed. We hear it. We’re doing what we believe we need to do with as minimal an impact as possible.”The town had public complaints after a decision last month to ban bringing alcoholic beverages to the concerts. Employees said the town was enabling people to break the law, but at least one town councilman didn’t see why that mattered since the town wasn’t actually breaking the law.”My comment is, as a nonprofit I would be very cautious about taking the liability involved with that transaction,” said Councilman Reed Lewis. “It needs to be looked at more carefully.”For this decision, however, Town Council was not even told it would be happening. Councilman Arnie Mordkin hadn’t even heard that a press release was going out regarding alcohol sales benefiting nonprofits. All members of the public who spoke at a Town Council meeting a few weeks ago were against the change in policy. Mordkin and Lewis were also against the decision, and were surprised that the decision to ban BYOB had come without council input. “The town of Snowmass Village and the marketing and special events department is doing everything possible to keep a wonderful event, a wonderful event,” said Snowmass Mayor Douglas “Merc” Mercatoris. “[The decision] was never, never driven by a profit motive, and this proves it.”Hamley’s department has already confirmed five nonprofits that will receive funding – Jazz Aspen Snowmass, Anderson Ranch, Challenge Aspen, Snowmass Rotary and the Little Red School House – with a sixth in the works. Each organization will use its nonprofit status to get the liquor license at a concert while a town of Snowmass nonprofit will run the five remaining concerts, with proceeds split evenly between the six chosen. Hamley said the town will have wine and beer for $2 a glass and some pricier, higher-quality choices as well. It has also announced a wine cellar for more expensive bottles, as well as a claim check if people bring alcohol and would like to pick it up after the show.”I don’t think it’ll be that much different,” Hamley said. “It’s still free, and it’s still going to be great.”Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is

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