City Council approves outdoor alcohol sales

On Aug. 23, Hattiesburg City Council approved the outdoor sale and consumption of alcohol for both the Downtown Tailgate Series as well as the ninth annual Historic Mobile Street Renaissance Festival.

The council met in a meeting Monday to discuss the possibility of having alcohol on the streets. This meeting is in accordance with Ordinance 2301 of the Hattiesburg Code of Ordinances, which states that it is unlawful for anyone to possess, sell or consume alcohol on public grounds.

According to The Hattiesburg American, this law is in effect at all times and was unwavering until April 2013, when the council decided to amend Ordinance 2103 to allow beer and wine to be sold for events that close downtown streets.  Since then, many events such as the “Welcome Back” Hattiesburg block party have included the sale of alcohol.

The alcohol permit excites many students, adding further draw for the Downtown Tailgates. Katie Quinnelly, junior English licensure major, is in favor of the amendment.

“I think it’s a good thing because some students, when they’re outside, they want to enjoy a nice beer,” she said. “That way, you’d probably actually bring in a bigger crowd. As long as you do it safely and have your safe alternative for a driver, I think it’s great.”

Some students wonder why there is a law against public sale and consumption in the first place. Alanna Fopiano, senior nutrition major, is vehemently against the law. “I understand why they do it, in order to make the city a safer place. I just think that having laws against drinking outdoors when the person is of age is silly. There isn’t anything stopping them from buying the alcohol indoors, why does it matter if it’s outdoors or not?” Fopiano said.

The Downtown Tailgate Series began Aug. 30 with the Mississippi State game. The other scheduled dates for the Downtown Tailgate  are Sept. 13 (at Alabama), Oct. 4 (at Middle Tennessee State), Oct. 18 (at North Texas), Nov. 1 (at UTEP ) and Nov. 13 (at Texas-San Antonio).