Trumbull Day Commission gets approval to serve beer and wine during summer event

Planning is underway for the return of Trumbull Day and, in an effort to offset costs of the summer event, organizers plan to serve beer and wine this year.

This year’s event — scheduled for Saturday, June 29 — will also include carnival rides, games, live entertainment and a fireworks display at the end of the night.

Since Trumbull Day will be held on the grounds of Trumbull High School and Hillcrest Middle School, the Trumbull Day Commission, with support of First Selectman Timothy Herbst, went before the Board of Education at its meeting last week, to seek a waiver to a board policy on alcohol, allowing the sale and consumption of alcohol on school grounds for that day.

Some board members had initial concerns about allowing drinking on school property, so Trumbull Day Commission Chair John Karpowich laid out a specific plan for safety and oversight in regards to serving alcohol. Other commission members, as well as the first selectman, attended last week’s school board meeting to answer additional questions.

In a letter to the board, Karpowich said that a tent will be designated to serve beer and wine and will be set apart from other tents and activities.

“The tent will have orange safety fencing around it making it an enclosed area,” Karpowich wrote.

An I.D. scanner will ensure that no underage people are able to enter the enclosed area, the chairman said. Volunteers serving the beer and wine will receive alcohol management training and patrons won’t be able to leave the area with their drinks.

Karpowich said the commission has consulted with police, EMS, the Fire Department and Trumbull Park Superintendent to discuss the plan. Extra security and police will patrol the tented area.

“There will be two points of entry at the tent with police/security at each entrance, in additional the Trumbull Partnership Against Underage Drinking will also have a presence in the area,” Karpowich said.

Board member Tom Kelly said he wanted to be sure the Board of Education wouldn’t be held liable, in case any issues arose at the event.

“In the general sense, the Town of Trumbull carries the insurance on all Board of Education facilities,” Herbst responded. “We’ve been in touch with town insurance broker to figure out what we can do specifically for this event.”

Herbst said that when vandalism was reported at a Trumbull Day a few years ago, it was found inside Hillcrest Middle School. This year, the school facilities will not be open to the public, he said. Portable restrooms and hand-washing stations will be outside.

School board member Deborah Herbst said she was happy with the plan as laid out.

“I think Mr. Karpowich did an outstanding job answering questions,” Herbst said. “You are leaving nothing to chance. If you stick with this plan, I’m OK with it.”

School board member Michael Ward, who was a former volunteer on the Trumbull Day Commission, said the event is expensive to put on, so he understood the need to look for revenue. However, Ward was the only board member to vote against waiving the board’s alcohol policy for the day. He said he didn’t think alcohol belonged at Trumbull Day, since it is a family event.

The board passed the waiver to its policy with a 6 to 1 vote.

In his letter, Karpowich laid out additional plans for the day, saying the Commission is considering a Trumbull Day entry fee, anywhere from $4 to $7. In addition to rides and games, music will be playing throughout the event on a central stage, according to organizers.

Smoking will not be allowed on school grounds and people will be patrolling to make sure no one is drinking outside of the beer and wine tent area.

“It is our goal for Trumbull Day to be a wonderful family event by ensuring it is a safe, secure and welcoming environment for all who attend,” Karpowich wrote.