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SPP council changes Heritage Days wristband policy

St. Paul Park City Council members have changed their minds about Heritage Days revelers drinking on public property.

At its April 19 meeting, the council revised a previous motion and will not require wristbands be worn by those who want to drink in designated public areas.

The requirement was originally suggested by the Heritage Days Committee as a means of aiding police in enforcing underage drinking and other alcohol-related situations during the four-day festival, according to committee chair Greg Langbehn.

"If you incorporate wristband wording in the motion it could lead to a criminal violation," said Police Chief Mike Monahan. "Right now, if a person stands in the middle of Third Street drinking a beer, that's a criminal misdemeanor. They could be fined as much as $1,000 or 90 days in jail or both. The revised motion just cleans it up for the police department."

Requiring wristbands should be a ruling by the Heritage Days Committee, like the committee's decision not to allow coolers except in the mud volleyball area, Monahan said.

At its April 20 meeting, members of the Heritage Days Committee agreed bar owners would sell wristbands to people of legal drinking age who want to carry their beer outside to the designated areas.

"It will just make it easier for us to know who can legally drink," one owner said.

Wristbands will be sold for $1 and will be required to enter the Saturday night street dance. Proceeds from the sales will go to the festival's general fund.