Jonesborough approves permit for Storytelling Festival, extended hours for Depot Street Brewery

Jonathan Roberts • Jul 16, 2019 at 10:38 AM

The 2019 International Storytelling Festival is a go after the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the event’s permit on Monday night.

While there’s little surprise in the approval, there was some contention surrounding Jonesborough Mayor Chuck Vest’s suggestion about reserving several parking spaces for citizens not attending the festival, but hoping to shop or run errands in downtown.

Vest was hoping to reserve five to six parking spaces for Jonesborough citizens during the Storytelling Festival, but Town Administrator Bob Browning noted the mayor doesn’t have the ability to do so, except for potentially in the Parson’s Table Lot.

Browning noted that would likely be met with resistance from merchants, however, as that’s where they usually park. After about five minutes of discussion, the board decided to add the item to the motion to approve the event permit, with plans to enforce a 90-minute time limit on the spaces.

Vest said the Storytelling Festival is “always a success,” and that “you can’t really monetize what the Storytelling Festival means to our town.” He called it part of the town’s “identity.”

“We’re becoming a much more diverse town, (the) Storytelling (Festival) is just a part of it, but it is a major part,” Vest said.

The board also canceled an upcoming Movies on Main, as the Aug. 10 date would have conflicted too much with the Pioneer 5K race and after party. Vest said plans the date could be reinstated if a compromise is reached by that time, but as of now, there won’t be any Movies on Main on Aug. 10.

Depot Street Brewery in Jonesborough might be getting some new, extended hours as well, as the board approved an amendment to a town ordinance that only allowed the brewery to sell on-premise for 20 hours a week — which is what they initially requested when opening.

The move would allow Depot Street to sell on-premise anytime except from midnight to 6 a.m. every day but Sunday, when alcohol can’t be sold between midnight and noon, which applies to any place where alcohol with a greater alcohol content than 5% is sold, per section 2-204 in the Jonesborough Municipal Code.

Vest said the move will allow Depot Street to compete with other craft breweries in the area — the market for which has grown substantially since Depot Street opened in 2004.

“The playing field wasn’t leveled for Depot Street, and doing what we did tonight really levels the playing field between Depot Street — who manufactures here within our city limits — and other breweries in the area,” Vest said. “It was something I feel we were obligated to do.”

Also during the meeting, the town took ownership and responsibility of the alleyway between Barrel House Restaurant and Hands Around the World. The town also accepted responsibility for the streets in State of Franklin Condos Complex off Persimmon Ridge Road, and approved the purchase of a $28,000 incinerator for use by the town.

Tyler Briggs was named Employee of the Month for July.