Coolers banned at state plaza's Fourth of July celebration

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
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People will be prohibited from bringing their own alcoholic beverages to next week’s Fourth of July gathering at the Empire State Plaza in Albany.

No private coolers will be allowed at the afternoon and evening fireworks party, one of the largest in the Capital Region.

State officials disclosed the ban this morning during a press conference that also announced longtime event benefactor Price Chopper supermarkets will continue to sponsor the party for the next five years.

For the Fourth, beer and wine will be sold at the plaza to people with proper identification for $4.50 a cup. RoAnn Destito, commissioner of the state’s Office of General Services, said the idea is to return the Fourth of July gathering to a more family-friendly environment.

“For families, we are setting up two family fun zones, one at each end of the plaza, that will be alcohol and tobacco free,” Destito said. “These areas will feature our fun kid activities including face painting, a bounce house and pony rides. Glass bottles and pets, except for service animals, will not be permitted.”

Security is another concern — especially looking back to the terrorist bombings at April’s Boston Marathon, in which three spectators were killed and more than 200 were injured.

“We are going to provide security, as we always have in the past,” Destito said. “This has been a secure event … we certainly will be looking at what took place in Boston, but we believe with our state police and our added security, we will have a secure event.”

In past years, coolers have been allowed for the Fourth of July. The new Office of General Services alcohol policy applies to all events at the plaza, such as outdoor cinema nights and summer concerts.

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