Farmington council okays Festival beer tasting – whenever

Whenever the 2020 Greater Farmington Founders Festival happens, organizers now have permission to host a downtown beer tasting event.

During Monday’s electronic city council meeting, Greater Farmington Area Chamber Director Connor Osborn said community feedback showed the Festival needed “more of an interest and presence in downtown Farmington.” Organizers decided earlier this year to keep the bulk of the event in Farmington’s Shiawassee Park.

The new beer tasting, scheduled 6-9 p.m. on July 11, would be held at the Walter E. Sundquist Pavilion and Riley Park. Guests will sample craft beers from Michigan brewers, led by downtown’s Farmington Brewing Company.

“The event company we work with suggested this idea to us, and we loved it,” Osborn said. “This will bring Farmington Brewing Company into it and bring in more foot traffic, which was the main concern we heard from downtown businesses.”

Mayor Pro Tem Joe LaRussa asked about music and whether a variance from the city’s noise ordinance would be required. Osborn said any musical acts will be low key and acoustic; main stage music in Shiawassee Park would start as the downtown event is ending.

The beer tasting will require a second temporary liquor license. The Farmington Farmers Market will have the pavilion and park cordoned off for a special event that day, and the beer tasting would “piggyback” off that, Osborn said.

The Chamber is looking into all government communications about the COVID-19 pandemic and will make sure to operate the Festival “successfully and safely”, Osborn said.

Based on advice from city attorney Beth Saarela, officials passed a motion that allows the beer tasting to happen whenever the 2020 Founders Festival does.