This year is the 20th annual Oregon Brewers Festival, a milestone year to be sure. As a special treat, the OLCC (Oregon Liquor Control Commission) has decided to ban minors from the Festival entirely.
After 19 years of promoting the Oregon Brewers Festival as a community event, we regret that we will not be allowed to have minors under the age of 21 on the festival premises in 2007. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has stipulated no minors be on-site, citing OLCC Rule 845-006-0340 (7) (a) in which "eating predominates" and the premise must not have a "drinking enviroment".
For kids, seeing their parents drink responsibly in a normal environment demystifies it and removes the allure of the forbidden. I don’t doubt that there are parents in Oregon who think that taking their children to a beer festival exposes them to indecent behavior. But there are certainly others who think it’s a healthy celebration of local culture—and fun, to boot. The OLCC has taken the choice away from parents, many of whom will now skip their Saturday afternoon trip to Waterfront Park.
Personally, I wouldn’t bring my kids to the OBF, but not because I think the environment is inappropriate or unhealthy for them: rather, it would just make a long, boring, tiring day for them. The OBF itself is a very family-friendly venue—I’ve never witnessed anything in the times that I’ve been there to convince me otherwise.
Regardless, OLCC has decided to overrule the matter entirely, and families who would otherwise have been able to check out the Brewfest for a couple hours won’t be able to go.
(An alternative, but more mean-spirited, headline I considered for this post: "OLCC says, Happy 20th OBF!")