Naperville officials are working on a way to make purchasing beer easier and more efficient at local festivals.
Mayor George Pradel, also the city's liquor commissioner, said he has asked organizers of the city's two largest festivals, the Exchange Club's Ribfest and the Jaycees' Last Fling, to consider a new system in which tickets are substituted for cash during alcohol purchases. Pradel also would like to see both organizations explore an online ticketing option that would allow attendees to purchase their alcohol tickets online.
"I really want to get away from the exchange of currency in areas of the fest where alcohol is purchased and consumed," Pradel said. "Ideally we'd have one table, away from the hustle and bustle of the beer tent, where you could buy tickets for your libations. That way you don't have money passing over the counter or a volunteer tying up the line as they make change for the customers."
Pradel said he also would like to look into a similar system for food sales but such a system would not fall under his direction as liquor commissioner.
He said the online sales could be a boon for both fests because of the likely scenario where someone would purchase tickets and then not attend the festival.
"There would be no refunds so then you're essentially donating to the cause," he said.
The liquor commission has asked organizers of both festivals to consider the idea and offer suggestions on ways to fine-tune the proposed system. If time allows, Pradel said he would like to see such a system in place for Labor Day weekend's Last Fling.
"I've suggested they try it for the Fling as a test run and I'm waiting to hear their side and what they think would be involved in making it happen," Pradel said.
Last Fling Executive Director Rosemarie Breske Garvey could not be reached for comment Wednesday or Thursday.
Ribfest's 2013 Chairman Marty Walker said he was familiar with Pradel's request and the festival steering committee will discuss the idea in September.
"We have not made any firm decisions on that at all," Walker said. "We're still going through the paperwork and stuff from this year before we worry about next year."
Pradel insists he's not looking to make more work for anyone. He just thinks the process could be "streamlined."
"I just want a good, solid procedure in place to handle the exchange of money because the easier you make it for volunteers, the better," he said. "Hopefully between all of us we can come up with a plan that works."