Country fair in Bridgewater to serve beer for first time ever - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Country fair in Bridgewater to serve beer for first time ever

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Alcohol will be served in Bridgewater for the first time in 80 years starting Friday. (WFSB photo) Alcohol will be served in Bridgewater for the first time in 80 years starting Friday. (WFSB photo)
BRIDGEWATER, CT (WFSB) -

Bridgewater may be Connecticut's last "dry" town, but that will change come Friday.

The first legally served drink in decades will be sold at the Bridgewater Fair, which lasts through the weekend.

Alcohol hasn't been served in the town in more than 80 years.

A change voted on by town residents two years ago paved the way for beer and wine to be sold at the fair.

A new restaurant will also be opening this fall and alcohol will be served there, according to the town.

There are no other bars or restaurants in town.

That's why people say there's so much to love about the fair.

"The one thing people always talk about is the roast beef sandwiches," said Eric Gsell, Bridgewater Volunteer Fire Department. "The kids, they all love the animals, the chickens, the pigs, the sheep."

After 64 fairs, this will be the first where alcohol is served.

People who live there called it a big change for the tiny town of 1,700 people.

Firefighters told Eyewitness News they hope it draws even more people to the fair, which already attracts roughly 30,000 people over three days.

"It’s the main fundraiser for the fire department," Gsell said. "We don’t take taxes from the town for our operations and equipment, things like that.”

In May, they officially received the permit to sell alcohol.

"We've talked about it for a couple of years," Gsell said. "This time we decided to pull the trigger."

The first beer, however, has already been ordered. It will be done by a resident who didn't want the town to become wet in the first place.

Sixth generation Bridgewater resident and fireman Jim Lillis voted for no booze in his beloved town will sip the first brew at the fair.

"I asked the guy that was running it, I said 'listen, somebody has got to be the first one' and this was about three months ago, and he said, 'sure!'" Lillis said.

As for why Lillis cast the vote in the first place, he said "just to keep Bridgewater the quite little town that we are."

However, he acknowledges a change of heart and a move to make history.

"It is still the uniqueness of it," Lillis said.

Still, there are no plans for a liquor store because the town has fewer than the 2,500 residents required by law to have one, according to the first selectman.

The fair opens Friday at 4 p.m. and runs through Sunday.

For more fairs in Connecticut, click here.

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