Here at the Weekly, we love being part of Chinatown. So we’re sad that overzealous partiers may have killed a gracious tradition: a sip of wine while eyeing art on First Friday and other occasions. On Aug. 27, more than 500 Chinatown residents and businesses signed a petition to ban alcohol in galleries, boutiques and on the street. The petition was prepared by The Chinatown Business and Community Association and submitted to Mayor Peter Carlisle.
Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, representing the CBCA, says, “We’re in support [of] First Friday. We like festivals. The only problem is, in the recent years, the festival has gotten too big and Chinatown is small.” Complaints were made to CBCA against loud, late-night drinkers, crowded streets and such ugliness as public vomiting, peeing and littering. “Let’s keep street festivals, but have people go into restaurants and bars to drink so they have more supervision,” says Shubert-Kwock. An early promoters of Chinatown festivals, Shubert-Kwock and other CBCA members aren’t too happy with the young, wild and free behavior at First Friday, Halloween and other downtown festivities.
“I think it’s a shame because the street festivals have been a positive place for the public to gather,” says Rich Richardson, owner of The Arts at Marks Garage, a non-profit gallery and performance space. Marks regularly participates in the festivals, and offers alcohol. “I think the intention to blockade a joyous celebration of our community is misguided,” says Richardson, which, like other participating organizations, asks for donations–and I.D.s–when alochol is served.