LACONIA — The city is being urged to allow beer tents during Motorcycle Week this year.
Charlie St. Clair, executive director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, made the pitch to hold the special refreshment pavilions during the nine-day event.
St. Clair suggested during Monday’s City Council meeting that the tents be initially authorized for half their normal pre-COVID capacity
”If things change then the council could amend the number,” St. Clair said.
Last month the council told the city manager to proceed with plans that would allow private vendors to set up their booths at half their normal density in order to promote social distancing. But City Manager Scott Myers told the council then that beer tents and special pop-up outdoor entertainment were not being contemplated due to COVID concerns. Regular Weirs Beach establishments would be allowed to have outdoor entertainment on their premises, however.
City Council Tony Felch, whose ward includes part of Weirs Beach, said that 95 percent of the people who have spoken to him recently have said they want Motorcycle Week to be like it was prior to the pandemic.
Last year's Motorcycle Week was postponed until the third week in August because of COVID concerns, and private vendor booths were banned.
The council is scheduled to discuss the Motorcycle Week plans at length at its next meeting on April 26.
The city has received relatively few vendor applications, though it has also received numerous inquiries, City Planning Director Dean Trefethen said Tuesday.
He said there have been some applications for vendors who are looking to set up booths inside some of the arcade buildings on Lakeside Avenue. But there have been no applications received for vendors who typically line the boardwalk, or outside on Lakeside Avenue, or along Route 3.
“We’re running very much behind in terms of applications,” Trefethen said.
The city’s Special Events Committee and Licensing Board are scheduled to meet on May 5 to act on applications.
Councilors had mixed views on how the event, which runs from June 12-20, should be run. Felch, for example, said he believes no special precautions are necessary, while Councilor Henry Lipman said he feels special safeguard are still needed because of the continued community spread of the COVID virus in New Hampshire.