A cookout intended to be a family friendly event in downtown Glen Ellyn before Glenbard West football games was scrapped after the inaugural event last Saturday in the face of opposition from school officials and the police chief.
Their argument: beer and Bloody Marys don't mix with high school football.
The cookout, organized by the Tap House Grill, was held at an auto repair shop parking lot at Pennsylvania Avenue and Park Boulevard just a block from Duchon Field, where the school's varsity football team played its season opener Saturday afternoon.
The event, which ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., featured burgers and snacks, but opponents said its intent was to connect the sale of alcohol with high school athletics.
Village officials granted retroactive approval for the first event, but after opposition surfaced at Monday's village board meeting, the organizer decided to withdraw his application seeking approval of four additional cookouts.
Police Chief Phil Norton said initial request documents from Tap House owner Danny Sronkoski, and subsequent advertising, referred to the event as a "tailgate party." References to tailgating were later removed at the request of Norton and members of the village liquor commission, as were Glenbard West logos from menus.
Still, Norton said, changing the event name and logo was just "window dressing."
"This was, and forever will be, an event that inexorably links alcohol consumption with high school sports," Norton said at the village board meeting.
He cited research showing children mimic adult behavior and said he believes the cookout sent a bad message to high school students.
A majority of trustees expressed opposition to the event at the parking lot location, though some suggested it be held without alcohol service. But before a formal vote could be taken, Sronkoski withdrew his request.
He declined to comment.
Glenbard West Principal Jane Thorsen and Gilda Ross, the student and community projects coordinator at Glenbard High School District 87, also opposed the cookout in its current form.
"Once the school district heard about it, they realized it was really not in the best interest of the high school community," Ross said. "We have mutual goals here for kids to be responsible and I think through the discussion it became clear we were really all on the same page."
She says parents of all Glenbard students involved in athletics are required to attend a meeting on alcohol awareness.
"Kids hear 1 percent of everything you say and 100 percent of everything you do," Ross said. "The modeling of parents during these years is crucial."