Chilmark Community Center fundraiser goes dry


The Chilmark Community Center had to change course this week. After promoting a fundraiser Saturday at which the center planned to serve beer and wine based on ticket purchases, the summer organization learned it faced the same restrictions West Tisbury groups encountered.

Beer and wine may not be served in dry towns when money changes hands.

In an email sent out earlier this month and received by The Times, the Chilmark Town Affairs Council and Chilmark Community Center’s Funding our Future Campaign Committee noted beer and wine would be linked to fundraiser ticket sales. A subsequent email to The Times requested that the mention of beer and wine be removed from any future publicity.

Yesterday, Chilmark executive secretary Tim Carroll told The Times that after learning of the event Police Chief Brian Cioffi informed the event chairmen that alcohol could not be sold. Mr. Cioffi acted on the basis of a legal opinion Ron Rappaport, West Tisbury and Chilmark town counsel, provided to West Tisbury this spring.

Chilmark and West Tisbury are two of nine remaining dry towns in Massachusetts. West Tisbury ran up against the same issue of whether the town could allow the sale of alcohol at events following a permit request last summer from Divas Uncorked, a Boston based wine group that sponsored a food and wine festival in August (see “West Tisbury must halt wine and beer service at fundraisers,” published March 9, 2011.)

West Tisbury selectmen asked for an opinion from Mr. Rappaport. He said that West Tisbury, as a dry town, could not legally allow alcohol to be served at events where money has changed hands.

In April, West Tisbury voters approved an article at town meeting to authorize their selectmen to petition the legislature to allow beer and wine sales at both restaurants and fundraisers.