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Middletown library fundraiser deemed a "Speakeasy" - abc27 WHTM

Dauphin County

Middletown library fundraiser deemed a "Speakeasy"

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) -

It was a festive and simple idea to raise money for Middletown's struggling library, until the borough found out their fundraising event was being called something much different. 

"The Ugly Christmas Sweater Gala was supposed to be one in a series of events called 'A Very Hoffer Holiday'," borough secretary Chris Courogen said.

The event was scheduled to be held Saturday evening in the glittering Hoffer Park, and the good news was there would be wine, thanks to cases donated by the Vineyards at Hershey. 

"When we were approached by the borough, of course we were going to say yes," vineyard president Jason Reimer said.

The mayor even gave special approval for alcohol to be served in the park because, again, this was a library fundraiser.

Or was it?

"As soon as the mayor granted the exception for that the next argument became, 'Well, you're selling tickets to an event that has alcohol'," Courogen said. "And it turns out under LCB laws that would mean we are running a speakeasy." 

According to Merrim-Webster, a speakeasy is a noun defined as "a place where alcoholic beverages are illegally sold."

While prohibition is long out of effect, the event has been prohibited by the Liquor Control Board. And as such, the fundraiser is being called off.

"You would think we were opening a brothel to benefit the library," Courogen said.

A gathering will still be held this weekend at the same time, same place, free of charge, and a bit more casual. But this time there will be no wine, just hot dogs and s'mores.

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