Controversy brewing from this weekend’s Brew BQ Fest

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — There’s a controversy brewing from the Brew BQ Festival that happened in Shockoe Bottom Sunday.

Despite a few rain showers, the festival was packed. Yet, just steps away at 17th Street Farmer’s Market, it was practically a ghost town.

“They shut [down] the streets in this part the neighborhood so your regular customers can’t park due to the festival that is up the street.” — Helen Emerson, the co-owner of Rosie Connolly’s Pub, located near the market

The festival this year was pushed back into the parking lots north of the market.

Business owners said, as a result, they had very little foot traffic this year and what is normally a money-maker actually cost them customers.

8News spoke with local businesspeople in the area.

“They also shut [down] the streets in this part the neighborhood so your regular customers can’t park due to the festival that is up the street,” Helen Emerson, the co-owner of Rosie Connolly’s Pub, located near the market, said.

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Helen Emerson said her business suffered as a result of Brew BQ organizers shutting down street access to her restaurant.

Enrichmond, which organized the festival, said that according to City planners the Market was supposed to be under construction at the time of this festival.

By the time they realized the Farmer’s Market renovations were delayed and construction wasn’t happening anytime soon, Enrichmond said it was too late to get new permits and ABC approvals to move it back into the Farmer’s Market.

Enrichmond also said they had  to close the streets around the Market because they needed there to be only one way in and one way out of the market where it intersects with Franklin Street.

Local restaurant owners said they hope the next festival – Shockoe on the Half Shell, happening September 11th – will be back in the market.

Enrichmond said they have three options, and two of those would put that festival under the Market awnings.

However, they said they’re waiting to learn more from the City about the Market renovations.

As 8news told you Friday, the construction might be in jeopardy, as all bids for the project came in higher than the city allotted funds for.

 

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