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Beer garden this year going up for bid 

BY CORIANNE EGAN cegan@paducahsun.com

Barbecue on the River's Beer Garden will be up for grabs starting on May 1, organizers said Friday.

The Beer Garden was run by the Paducah Symphony Orchestra for the past 15 years, and brought in an average of $30,000 for the non-profit a year. In January, festival organizers announced the beer garden would be put up for bid to allow other charities the chance to run it. The PSO fought back, and a public dispute ended in the two parties agreeing to give the symphony the right to first refusal of a revamped contract.

After reviewing the contract, the symphony board voted not to sign agreement on Thursday night. Board president Roger Truitt said that the new contract would reduce the amount of money the symphony could expect to make on the event. 

"We certainly wanted to keep this relationship and our fundraiser healthy; we were even willing to share more of the bottom line to retain what we had, but the offer came with a firm 'non-negotiable' stamp on it," Truitt said. "We just could not make sense out of it without some alterations."

In the original contract, the PSO paid Barbecue on the River a rental fee of $1,000, then 10 percent of the beer garden's net proceeds every year. The new contract asks for a $1,000, non-refundable deposit, and has added fees associated with canceling sponsorship after July 1. The rental fee was raised to $4,000, and a separate section stipulates that the non-profit will have to provide tents, tables, chairs, signage and decorating.

The barbecue organizers plan to continue to run their fundraising event, Porkstock, at the Beer Garden, the contract said. The festival will reimburse the non-profit for alcohol consumed during the event.

The contract also asks for two Beer Garden managers to be on duty at all times. Those managers must go through the city-approved beverage training program. Any organization that runs the event will need to have $5 million in insurance for the Beer Garden and will also be responsible for cleanup after Barbecue on the River.

There's also a non-exclusive clause in the contract, which says that festival organizers could establish more Beer Garden locations at some point.

Festival founder Susie Coiner said the contract presented to the symphony is what will be presented to interested parties when it is  posted on May 1. All other information, including specifications and special notes, will be on the website at that time.

Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.

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