Should the Far Hills Races Ban Alcohol at General Admissions Gates? [POLL]
Partial ban announced for this October's Far Hills Races aimed at curbing excessive drinking. Is that justified?
It shouldn't have come as a surprise: After complaints about public intoxication and rowdy behavior at last October's Far Hills Race Meeting, local officials vowed that such shenanigans must finally come to an end.
Late last month, it was announced that general admission ticket holders at future Far Hills Race Meetings no longer will be permitted to bring alcohol in through the gates to Moorland Farm, where the races are held each October. The change is due to go into effect for this fall's race, scheduled for Oct. 19, 2013.
Guy Torsilieri, co-chairman for the steeplechase horse races, informally known as "The Hunt," said that alcohol still will be permitted at corporate tents, catered affairs and for ticket holders who rent spots to host tailgate parties.
But the 46 percent of other racegoers, who park outside the gates, take the train or are dropped off to enter the property through one of three general admission gates, will be subject to pat-downs and wand searches for alcohol, as they would be at other large sporting events, Torsilieri said.
The annual steeplechase horse races are a fundraiser for the Somerset Medical Centes that usually attracts about 40,000 attendees from nearby and from other states, including on trains from New York City.
Torsilieri said there is some discussion of selling alcohol in that lower section of the races through vendors, and in a far more controlled fashion.
But he said that idea is merely a possibility, while the Far Hills Race Association, in tandem with Somerset Medical Center, has made a definite decision to ban on outside alcohol at the gates.
"You can no longer fill up your little red wagon and bring in cases of vodka and beer," Torsilieri said, referring to what have been large quantities of alcohol brought in by some racegoers.
At this point, the plan is to allow general admission ticket holders to consume alcohol only if they are invited to a tailgate or tented catered party on the other side of the race area, Torsilieri said.
While the Far Hills Race Association is well within rights to make such a decision, how do you think that the partial ban will affect the races? Do you think attendance will drop? If some people leave, will others want to come to a less alcohol-oriented event?
And is really fair to punish all adults, who spend a lot of money to bring food, accompanied perhaps by wine, because of the behavior of some? Or should the rules be enforced more stringently for those who drink to excess and act inappropriately?
Do you think perhaps some groups will save up for a tailgate spot, sold further up the hill, and sidestep the prohibition?
Let us know in the poll below and in the comments section.