By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — River District officials say a popular downtown event is making a return to downtown Wausau this fall.
Exhibitour, a “wine walk” through downtown Wausau, will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5 along Third Street, according to River District Director Blake Opal-Wahoske.
In the past, Exhibitour drew thousands of people who came to the downtown area to sip wine while moving from store to store to view artwork on display. Many downtown businesses participated, some bringing in artists to meet and greet guests while showcasing their wares.
After several successful years, Exhibitour was scuttled in 2012 because the event violated state alcohol laws. But rule changes at the state level in October 2015 now allow up to 20 stores to obtain wine-only licenses, making it legal for them to serve wine during such events as long as admission fees are charged and the event ends by 9 p.m. Organizations are allowed up to two events in a 12-month period, under state law.
Event planners still have a few hoops to jump through before Exhibitour becomes a reality. City Attorney Anne Jacobson, who reviews the legality of such events, said she has not been involved in any current discussions about Exhibitour and has not seen a plan or special event application to date. Proposals would go through the public health and safety committee and city council, Jacobson said.
Local ordinances do not permit open intoxicants on the streets, but organizations can request a waiver of the restriction from the public health and safety committee if they wish to allow participants to carry their wine from one participating location to the next, according to Deputy City Clerk Mary Goede.
For the most up-to-date information about Exhibitour, visit the Wausau River District website.