Cops Ban Kids From 'Family-Friendly Festival' (PICS)

Melissa de Mata
No circus for you kids!
Talk about your nanny state. An event that was billed as a "family-friendly celebration of all things fun and cyclical" was downgraded to adults-only Saturday morning after police informed organizers of the Tour de Fat bicycle game festival they had to exclude kids not in strollers or their parents' arms.

The problem? The event, which consisted of a parade, multiple circus acts, a slow bike-riding contest, a puppet theater, and games such as ring-toss also featured brewskis. The fest was sponsored by the New Belgium Brewing Company, which sold its products at $5 per cup, with proceeds going to local charities.

The SFPD's Richmond Station permit officer, Francis Feliciano, was not available to answer questions about this policy Monday. And at press time San Francisco Police Department spokesman Sergeant Troy Dangerfield was working the phones to track down an explanation.

Suffice to say, however, that the half-dozen strong cadre of park rangers at Saturday's event was supplemented by four cops, at least one of whom was seen patrolling the Tour de Fat grounds shooing away parents with kids from watching the event's on-stage bananana juggling exhibition, playing ring toss, or observing a bicycle rodeo.
Melissa de Mata
It was this poor cop's duty to protect kids from juggling and tightrope acts

"We went to the Tour de Fat like we've done the last two years. And we took our almost five-year-old daughter to see it like we've done for the past two years. And we were told we couldn't go in unless our child was in a stroller because of the alchol sales," said San Francisco network consultant Ted Dively. "'Stupid' would be the word I'd use. Yet again, someone's found a way to make it difficult for families to have fun in San Francisco."

James MCLean writes to say he and his kids were enjoying the festival when they were approached by a San Francisco Park Ranger. The bike-mounted officer made a point of following the two-year old and his dad until they were safely out of beer range. After a day shuffling after tiny miscreants with his groin wedged on a bicycle top-tube, we suspect this ranger asked for combat pay:

Ranger Chasing Kid websmall.jpg
James McLean
McLean says: "This is after we had been in the garden for more than an hour. Then they booted me and my two year old and my four year old and made sure to follow us on his bike the whole time. Lame."

On its website, the Tour de Fat encouraged kids to come. "May every generation come forth," said a section titled The Ten Commandments of the Tour de Fat. "This is a family friendly event. Costumes, bikes and a parade? We were thinking like kids when we created Tour de Fat."

Melissa de Mata
Sorry Ma'm, it's for your son's own good

But the event, which was enclosed by a fence and featured suds stands that only served attendees wearing a special 21-and-over wristband, apparently qualified as a beer garden. Police arrived the morning of the event and declared kids weren't allowed, said Tour de Fat organizer Zack Levis.

Melissa de Mata
Lady, your kids aren't here for the games and vaudeville acts: You just want to get them drunk

"The California department of Alcoholic Beverage Control says no kids can be in a beer garden at all our shows," said Levis. "And we run our events by the book."

John Carr, spokesman for the California department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, said that jurisdiction for the state agency might arise if the event's permit specifically prohibited children at the behest of local officials.

"Many times, a local community might say, 'When we do this permit, we would like to limit this to people 21 and over," said Carr, adding that he wasn't familiar with this particular event.

So, to local blue laws add a newly enforced dictum that says kids can't watch a childrens' circus if there's a possibility their mom might have a beer in her hand.

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