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Beer Returns to This Year's Mercado after Swallows Day Parade

After going "on the wagon" last year, Fiesta organizers estimate they lost $18,000 in sales.

The beer will be back at this year's Mercado after the Swallows Day Parade in San Juan Capistrano. Photo courtesy of the Fiesta Association.
The beer will be back at this year's Mercado after the Swallows Day Parade in San Juan Capistrano. Photo courtesy of the Fiesta Association.

After turning off the taps last year, beer is back at the Mercado, the after-Swallows Day Parade marketplace.

After recently meeting with the city and Orange County Sheriff’s representatives, the Fiesta Association – which puts on all the Fiesta de Las Golondrinas events – got permission to sell beer from 12:30-3:30 p.m., said Jeff Schroeder, Fiesta spokesman.

Last year, officials wanted to restrict beer sales from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the folks from the Fiesta didn’t think the venture would sell enough suds to make it worthwhile.

“It’s not so much the number of hours but when,” Schroeder said.

While the dry celebration was well promoted locally, parade goers from a wider area didn’t necessarily get the news and said they were disappointed. Revelers crammed local bars and restaurants and stood in long lines to wet their whistle.

Schroeder estimates the Fiesta Association lost $18,000 by not selling beer last year. It’s the one of group’s larger fundraisers to support the parade and other activities, second only to corporate sponsorship, he said.

But with this year’s beer-selling hours adjusted to times more friendly to consuming beer, he has hopes the financial tap will also be flowing.

“Even though it’s a few hours we’ll probably make some money off it,” he said.

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Erica Cox January 10, 2014 at 05:20 PM
I know a lot of people missed it. But it was the nicest Mercardo we have been to in YEARS. We won't be taking our kids back now.
Eric Bergstrom January 10, 2014 at 05:53 PM
Yeah A LOT of people missed it last year.
Small Town Girl January 10, 2014 at 06:21 PM
I'm So Happy, I actually skipped the whole event last year, because of it. And, I been going to Swallows Day for years!!! Yaay!
Shirley Dicktor January 10, 2014 at 07:40 PM
It's very difficult for me to discover beer is so important for people to attend an event like this. Disgusting!!! Where are their priorites or are there any?
Jonathan Volzke January 10, 2014 at 08:01 PM
You should attend the event before you comment on it, Shirley.
Shirley Dicktor January 10, 2014 at 08:26 PM
Sorry, no Jonathan..there is nothing about drinking like this that will ever darw me to the event.
Pat Bauer January 10, 2014 at 08:38 PM
It can be a good fundraiser as long as the police and people serving the beer do not provide it to people they feel have already had too much. If people are serious about getting drunk this beer station will not stop them. They will just go to other bars and get their drinks. Many people can just have a couple of beers and enjoy themselves. A trouble maker is a troublemaker anywhere. The police and security just need to do their jobs well.
Small Town Girl January 10, 2014 at 08:43 PM
Grow up Shirley, There is nothing wrong if adults that "drink responsibly" attend an outdoor horse parade, enjoy a few beer's and dance to live music around hay stacks... Don't be kill joy!
Eric Bergstrom January 10, 2014 at 09:01 PM
Yay! Shirley's not coming. Party! Can I get the first dance around the hay bale, Small Town Girl?
Small Town Girl January 10, 2014 at 09:06 PM
Yeehaw Eric, I thought you'd never ask! Why, Thank you...
Eric Bergstrom January 12, 2014 at 10:22 AM
Point well taken, Erica. There is a new board member in charge of the Mercado and we should do a better job of keeping the beer consumption and children playing separate. Before, the families had to pass through the beer crowd. We just need to keep it more civil.
Angus Kevin Mckay January 13, 2014 at 04:34 PM
whats wrong with gettin a little smashed and walking home? i for one will be partaking.
Joel Peshkin January 15, 2014 at 08:02 PM
Perhaps, instead of returning to the days of the mercado and town being overrun with drunks, it would be best to set this up in a manner that encourages moderation while still bringing in funding. People wanting to drink a dozen beers can wait in line to enter one of our many bars and restaurants. If the FA were to charge a lot (say, $10) for a beer in the mercado, people who want to have ONE OR TWO beers can have a drink while supporting the parade while "volume" customers can go into a bar where they belong. It is a win-win. Last year was the first time in many years that the mercardo wasn't unpleasant, but nobody is going to wait in line to get into a bar for one beer. I would have happily purchased a single beer at the same kind of price I would pay if I bought one at a concert.

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