Alcohol allowed in downtown Champaign during first Friday Night Live of season

Alcohol allowed in downtown Champaign during first Friday Night Live of season

CHAMPAIGN — Starting next week, patrons of the Friday Night Live summer streetfest will be allowed to take drinks in paper or plastic cups from certain bars off-site, so long as they stay within the boundaries of the city's newly created downtown festival district.

The changes announced Tuesday apply at this point only to the hours of 5 to 9 p.m. during next week's season-kickoff event. The district's boundaries cover most of downtown, and will be marked with signs.

Participating establishments will provide wristbands and serve alcoholic beverages in "to go" cups to customers who want to leave the premises and walk public streets while listening to live music. Patrons will not be allowed to bring alcohol purchased elsewhere into the downtown district, the city noted.

The announcement follows last summer's city council vote to designate such a district.

"In the past few years, the city has received numerous requests from residents who want to responsibly consume alcohol while enjoying community festivals and public events in downtown Champaign," said Mayor Deb Feinen, who is also the city's liquor commissioner. "When the city council updated the city's liquor ordinance last summer, we included the ability to designate a downtown festival district to accommodate those who want to enjoy a cocktail while standing on the sidewalk and listening to music and socializing."

The district encompasses the area delineated on the west by the sidewalk running along the west side of North Neil Street from East Washington Street to East University Avenue; on the south by the sidewalk running along the north side of East University between North Neil and North Chestnut Street; on the east by the sidewalk running along the east side of North Chestnut between East University and Main Street; and on the north by the sidewalk running along the north side of Main from North Chestnut to North Neil.

It also includes One Main Plaza and the sidewalk running along the front of the businesses located north it, including Soma and Collective Pour.

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