Gov. Pence signs bill to let State Fair sell alcohol – Indianapolis Star

Greg Weaver, Indianapolis 3:46 a.m. EDT March 16, 2014

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Hoosiers soon will be able to enjoy frothy mugs of beer with their elephant ears at the Indiana State Fair.

Gov. Mike Pence has signed into law a measure that lifts a 67-year ban on alcohol sales at the fair.

It was enacted in 1947 after litterbugs trashed the fairgrounds with beer bottles, which were dispensed only after vendors ran out of paper cups.

Pence seems satisfied that alcohol sales will flow more smoothly this time around, despite concerns by some that the change could tarnish the fair’s family-friendly atmosphere.

Pence spokeswoman Christy Denault said late Saturday that the governor is “confident that the Indiana State Fair will manage the sale of alcoholic beverages in a manner that will showcase Indiana producers and respect the family oriented traditions of the best state fair in America.”

The new law, contained in Senate Enrolled Act 339, would take effect July 1. That would clear the way for alcohol sales at this year’s state fair, if its commission decides to take advantage of the law that quickly.

The fair is slated for Aug. 1 to 17.

State fair spokesman Andy Klotz could not immediately be reached for comment. Previously, he has said that fairgoers for years have been asking why they can’t buy beer at the Indiana fair, especially when they can at other state fairs, family amusement parks and professional sporting events.

Currently, Indiana’s state fair is one of only two in the nation that bans alcohol sales. The other is North Carolina.

Klotz has said that now is a good time to remove the ban because it would allow the fair to promote products from Indiana’s burgeoning craft beer and wine industry.

The new law, however, does not appear to limit the fair’s alcohol sales to Indiana products. But it does say that alcohol at the fair can only be sold by the glass.

This story will be updated.

Star reporter Chris Sikich contributed to this report.

Call Government and Education editor Greg Weaver at 317-444-6415. Follow him on Twitter: @BizWeaver.

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