DDA recommends approval of Buds, Burgers and Beers

John Scarffe, Nederland.

During its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. on July 16, the Nederland Downtown Development Authority Board of Directors recommended approval of a festival featuring craft beer, gourmet burgers, and a marijuana tent.

The Nederland Board of Trustees had discussed the item at its July 1 meeting. The Trustees decided to let the Town’s Advisory Boards weigh in on the issue of whether or not the festival should be given a permit. They are looking for direction from the boards on whether to approve the application.

Buds, Burgers and Beers (BBB) is a proposed festival that seeks to include the marijuana industry while not making it the central component of the event. Organizers think that, as part of the evolution of legal marijuana in the state of Colorado, marijuana will become a normal part of culture rather than something seen as different and unique.

Colorado management

This festival will encourage this normalization by including it with other popular cultural items (burgers, craft beer, and music) rather than making marijuana the focus. The Buds, Burgers, and Beers festival will be conducted by Fab Fests, LLC, a Colorado company owned by Boulder resident and entrepreneur Allan Wright, owner of Zephyr Adventures, which has been in operation for 18 years as an organizer of active and food & drink tours around the world; business conferences related to food, wine, and beer; and wine festivals.

The Executive Director of the festival is Boulder resident and attorney Allan Parr. Parr runs his own business law firm and has previous experience as an investor in the marijuana industry. The Event Manager is Kendal Norris, an experienced event manager who has conducted a large variety of events in Colorado and beyond, including festivals focused on alcohol such as an upcoming festival at Sanitas Brewing.

The applicants have met with Town staff and the marshal and applied for the necessary permits for use of the Guercio Ballfield, serving alcohol.

The applicant revised the operation plan after the meeting with the Trustees. Organizers have agreed to delay the festival until 2015. The date could still be the first Saturday after Labor Day, but could also be moved earlier in the summer.

Zero waste; simple parking

Organizers will attempt to make this a Zero Waste event. The park space between Guercio Ballfield and Barker Reservoir will be available for use. This will provide
for increased numbers of festival attendees.

Wright emphasized that there will be no selling of marijuana at the festival. Organizers are open to an attendance cap but concerned this will affect the viability of the festival.

Nederland’s new event parking and traffic plan should be in place, and this event could be a model for its implementation. Organizers will implement creative ways to reduce impaired driving as much as possible.

Town Administrator Alisha Reis said the caveat is that marijuana consumption will be out of view. “This event could serve as a model for these kinds of events in the future,” she said.

Wright said he will be going to the Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Advisory Board and the Sustainability Advisory Board and then will make a modified proposal on to the Trustees on August 19.

Hiding the pot; feeding the crowd

In view of the State law that marijuana can’t be consumed in an open and public place, organizers are doing two things: placing an opaque fencing around the entire festival and putting up a tent where the actual legal smoking of marijuana will take place. For ventilation they will have open sides.

Wright said ten restaurants will be serving burgers and craft breweries will serve beer. “It’s not designed to be a smoke-out where that’s all people are doing,” he said.

Board Member Susan Schneider asked if the festival would negatively impact food and beverage sales in town. New Board Chair Katrina Harms said that, during NedFest, local businesses do better than average.

“People want to get away from the festival for a while,” she said. Wright said they will try to hire local businesses when they have that opportunity and will provide access to local businesses at the festival for half price.

Resident thoughts

Nederland resident Ron Mitchell said that at every event he has been to people are smoking marijuana. “I think it’s great to have an area where they can smoke. I think he has a good idea.”

Vice Chair Jeffrey Green said being able to bring pot out in the open, control it, and put it in one area is a good idea. People can avoid it by not going near the tent.

“It’s legal now. I think it should be allowed. I think this is nothing but a positive move in being able to control it,” Green said. Director Peter Marshall agreed

Director Mandy Kneer said: “To me this no different than any other festival. Is it sustainable in our environment?”

Board of Trustees representative Kevin Mueller said the Town does not have that ideal festival in front of it. “We want to have sustainable events that are tied to our vision. I want to see local beers available and red meat raised above 8,000 feet – as much locally owned and procured products is really what we’re looking for.”

Mueller said his biggest concern is it’s all 21 and older and would like to bring his family. He recommended emphasizing the music.

“That brings out the community,” Mueller said. “Have it be known for zero waste and incredible music.”

Harms pointed that this not someone coming from New York and it’s a very professional company. It will set an example for other events.

Green made a motion that the Board recommend that the festival be allowed to go ahead, and they have provided suggestions to the BOT: maximize local involvement and consider opening it to families.

The DDA approved the motion.

The next meeting of the Board will be on August 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the Nederland Community Center, 750 Highway 72, Nederland.