Brewfest brouhaha

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Sipping local microbrews in the storied East High gym is a good way to raise money and awareness about the Bremerton Youth Wellness Campus, says campus executive director Patricia Hennessy. 

“It will bring people here to drink beer for a great cause,” Hennessy says.

But the recent announcement of the campus’ first-ever Winter Brewfest has not been met with universal acquiescence.  And, according to some of commenters on Facebook, that is probably putting it mildly.

“I question the message they are sending,” Craig Patti wrote on my Facebook page.  “Seems counterproductive to ‘youth wellness campus.'”

Patti’s comment was among a snowball of opinions critical, mainly, of the idea of holding an event involving alcohol at the campus.

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But Hennessy defends the decision and says the event will go forward.

“We are going to stay the course,” she said.

No one under 21 will be allowed on the campus during the entire event, from 12-5 p.m. Nov. 1, she said. She hopes people will come to realize that a craft brew festival is not akin to a drunken kegger (my words, not hers).

“We’re not promoting alcoholism,” she said. “We’re doing this very responsibly.”

She noted that she has support of the Bremerton School District — which leases the land to the campus and once operated East High School and Bremerton Junior High School there — and that of the campus’ Board of Directors.

Hennessy said money raised at the event will pay for athletic scholarships for kids to use the campus, which thus far includes a Boys and Girls Club and a low-cost dental clinic. But much more is planned for the seven-acre site, to include parklike lawns, a farmer’s market and a music education center.

The campus can only have one event with alcohol per year under their insurance policy, Hennessy said, and she believes this is the one that will give the campus a boost in exposure and help “make sure we’re keeping kids in Bremerton off the streets.”

The event is $25 and 10 local breweries will be featured. Will you go, or do you share some of those same reservations as those on Facebook have?

One thought on “Brewfest brouhaha

  1. “She noted that she has support of the Bremerton School District — which leases the land to the campus and once operated East High School and Bremerton Junior High School there”

    I seriously question what the interpretation of her version of “support” is from the School District. For the district to lease the property, they had to officially decommission it as an educational property. Then it had to be officially made surplus under state RCW regulations. After these two things happen then the property can be leased by the district. A downside and risk to school districts leasing property under these conditions is that they no longer have any control or say on what is done with the property if it is not specified in the lease.

    In this particular application there is nothing they can legally say or do about the lessee choosing to hold such an event on this site. So in this instance I would question completely and not interpret at all the lack of questioning or open unease by the school district as “support”.

    I will not support this event. I will continue to give funds and support to the local Boys and Girls Clubs like I have for years. The wonderful thing that Bremerton has going for it is some established organizations that help the youth of our community through youth sports scholarships and other endeavors. So many opportunities to give nobody ever needs to confine that giving to something they don’t agree with especially when the hole that is being dug into is only getting deeper.

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