Six Flags Cleared to Sell Beer

TABC administrator signs order granting permits to Six Flags

After a year of protests, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor and Six Flags Over Texas visitors may soon be able to buy alcoholic beverages at the theme parks.

The Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission signed off on a recommendation Wednesday to allow a mixed-beverage permit at the Arlington theme parks.

But don't expect to be able to buy beer when Six Flags opens on Saturday. Barring a motion for a rehearing from protestors, the permit will become final in 20 days.

Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck had expressed concern that adding alcohol to a family-friendly environment would be a recipe for disaster.

"I'm still worried about it," Cluck said. "I still think alcohol and rides and all that don't mix."

Some families said they aren't happy about the decision.

"If they're young like my kids, I don't want them around that kind of stuff, because they're still too young to actually understand what's going on with somebody that's drunk," Clint Pearce said.

But other people said they have been waiting for Six Flags to offer alcohol.

"I don't see a problem with it," one man said.

Six Flags officials said beer will only be sold within designated areas, mostly restaurants. Visitors will not be allowed to walk around the park with beer in hand.

Pearce said the measures alleviate his concerns about the alcohol sales.

"If they can keep the alcohol to a certain area, that would be great for me," he said. "I'd just keep my kids in certain areas of the park."

Park officials also servers will be TABC-certified and be able to deny anyone service.

Other amusement parks across the country, including Disney parks, sell alcohol.

Last month, an administrative law judge recommended the parks be awarded licenses to sell alcohol. In her Jan. 9 decision, Judge Tanya Cooper said other theme parks that sell alcohol have not had big problems.   

Cooper wrote that Six Flags "has operated the amusement park where these Commission-issued permits and certificate are sought for several years, along with numerous other amusement parks similarly situated that serve alcoholic beverage choices, without any significant adverse effects."

"They are very important to the success of Arlington. But I just thought that was a mistake, and I guess they'll prove to me and to us that it wasn't," Cluck said.

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