The Seafood Festival failed to keep alcohol within the area where it had been licensed to permit it, Kathryn Thess, administrator for the Harford County Liquor Control Board, told Patch. Thess said the violations occurred Aug. 11 and 12.
At the liquor board's Oct. 17 meeting, the chief inspector for the Harford County Liquor Control Board said that fencing and volunteers did not effectively contain alcohol consumption to designated areas at the summer festival in Havre de Grace, ExploreHarford.com reported, and at least one person brought alcohol into the festival from a vehicle.
Lori Maslin, liquor licensee for the event, said the chief inspector approached her directly after the 2009 festival about concerns and she was "suprised" she was summoned to come before the liquor board, according to ExploreHarford.com.
"We have operated the Seafood Festival for more than 26 years with no issues with the liquor board," Maslin told Havre de Grace Patch. "In 2009 there was a minor problem at which time the inspector found me on the grounds, and the issue was immediately addressed and corrected. No violation was ever issued as the matter was immediately resolved....had the inspector sought me out at the time of the observed violation, I would have been able to immediately address and correct the problem."
The chief inspector for the liquor board said that the festival has gotten "too big" to not have security, ExploreHarford.com reported.
"To maximize the funds available for donations, we have operated the festival for 26 years with no paid employees," Maslin told Patch.
"Each year we look at the festival operations to determine how we can improve the event," said Maslin, who is the festival coordinator. "We are already working with the liquor board in making changes to ensure that no future problem occurs."
In fact, festival organizers must present the liquor board with a security plan before obtaining approval for future events, according to Thess.
"We treat our obligation in serving alcohol as a partnership with the liquor board and seek to work with them to operate properly at all times," Maslin said.
As for the $3,000 fine, it "will be paid immediately upon official notification to us by the liquor board," Maslin said, but there will be other consequences.
Each year, the festival, which operates as a nonprofit, donates its proceeds to charity. This past summer, the Seafood Festival donated a sign to the city of Havre de Grace that had an estimated value upwards of $10,000.
Said Maslin: "The $3,000 fine means that $3,000 less will be donated to the non-profit organizations with whom we work and support."
The next Seafood Festival is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 9, to Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013.