Open Container Policy Deemed a Success

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In the past, those who ordered a beer from a bar had to stay inside and finish it before leaving. But now?

"They come in, they order a round, and they leave because they want to continue to enjoy the festival," says G.T. Slocum, general manager of Krypto Music Lounge.

On the Waterfront worked with local businesses to allow bar patrons to walk around with a drink in their hands as long as it was in a plastic container. Everyone from customers to On the Waterfront organizers couldn't be happier.

"It’s worked out very well. I'm happy to see it, it’s been a hindrance for quite a few years," says Jim Colombi, owner of C.J.'s Lounge.

"It’s really increased the sales for not just us but for all the downtown businesses that participate in it," Slocum adds.

"I don't know of any major problems we've had with it, hopefully everything went well," says Becky Genoways, CEO of On the Waterfront.

"I think its great for downtown, I think it’s great for Rockford," says bar patron Heather Swartz.

The open container policy has done more than just pad bar owners' bottom lines however. Both bar owners and their customers say this year's festival has an entirely different feel to it because of it.

"I think its more relaxed downtown here, I don't think that there's a wall anymore," Swartz says.

"It makes it a lot easier. It’s a lot nicer, more friendly," says Jim Colombi.

"These people are able to come downtown and experience these downtown bars and these downtown businesses that are participating in this that normally don't come downtown," adds G.T. Slocum.

This policy was only in effect during this year's On the Waterfront festival. Waterfront officials are going to gage how much of an effect the open container policy had on insurance premiums. That might be the deciding factor on whether or not the policy will be in place over future Labor Day weekends.

Not every downtown business within Waterfront's boundaries took part in the open container policy. Even though Carlyle Brewing Company is on festival grounds, the owner opted out of the temporary policy. Both the Waterfront and bar owners had to pick up some extra insurance costs this weekend.