Beer and wine will be allowed at the summer Concerts in the Park series at Whitmore Park following the Ceres Planning Commission's approval of a conditional use permit.
The Ceres Chamber of Commerce asked the city for permission to sell beer and wine at the 2014 concert series. Last year Police Chief Art deWerk granted administrative approval for persons to bring their own beer and wine to concerts. The commission decided that, yes, the Chamber could sell alcoholic beverages as a way of encouraging more attendance at the events.
The Chamber proposes that proceeds from the sale be split between the Chamber, the Concerts in the Park and the Ceres Downtown Improvement District, commonly known as the Ceres Downtown Revitalization Area Board.
The city has sponsored Concerts in the Park since 1989.
Permission to sell alcohol is given exclusively to the Chamber for the 2014 season, after which a review will be made to see if any problems arose.
The city of Ceres is planning for the 26th annual Concerts in the Park series.
"We have a great new committee," said city of Ceres recreation coordinator Cambria Pollinger. "I'm so excited about it."
A fundraiser will be staged to get people to attend the seven-week concert series while raising money for the Concerts in the Park Committee, the Downtown Ceres Business Association and the Ceres Chamber.
Concerts are free but a $40 season pass will be sold that enable people to have a chance to win $500 during each of the eight concerts. Winners must be present to win. Passes may be pre-ordered for $35 by calling the city at 538-5628; or the Chamber of Commerce, 537-2601; or at the Ceres Street Faire set for May 3-4. Those who wish to participate in one concert drawing may buy a single "pass" for a 50/50 drawing for $10 per ticket.
"We're going to have some new local bands," said Pollinger. "We're extending it to eight weeks this year and we're trying to get more businesses out there to sponsor, and food vendors and make it a little more exciting."
Concerts will be held every Tuesday evening starting on June 3 at 6:30 p.m. at Whitmore Park, corner of Third and North streets. The series will end on July 15 with the "Voice of Ceres," a kids' singing competition. During intermission at each concert, three individual performances for children aged 3 to 13 will be held. The winner each night will advance to the grand championship to compete to win the contest. Contestants must apply in advance and since space is limited competitors are encouraged to register early by calling the Parks & Recreation Department at 538-5782.
Concert goers will be encouraged to bring blankets, chairs and picnic dinners. Free kids crafts and activities are also available each week, courtesy of the city.