Summer Promenades are back in Los Gatos, but with new alcohol-related restrictions.
Los Gatos Town Council voted unanimously at its meeting last week to limit the number of alcoholic beverages for attendees and increase security at the event to limit underage drinking and overall alcohol consumption.
The popular event, which launched last summer, blocks off North Santa Cruz Avenue from Bachman Avenue to Main Street so attendees can walk up and down the street to shop, chat with friends and enjoy local restaurants.
This year Promenade attendees must get an alcohol wristband from a dispensing point and are limited to one alcoholic beverage at a time.
The town’s first promenade of the season was set for June 16, 5-9 p.m. They will take place every Thursday, except for June 30, until Aug. 4.
“Our goal is to have a safe event for all participants,” town manager Laurel Prevetti said. “We have very light staffing in our police department, and so while a Promenade is going on, our patrol staff will be taking care of 30,000 other residents that are within our town limits.”
Los Gatos staff initially proposed limiting alcohol consumption to three biergartens along North Santa Cruz Avenue as an “alcohol management strategy” due to some concerns from last year’s event.
“We did have a couple of alcohol-related concerns, but we don’t have a lot of data to look back on,” Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Chief Jamie Field said at the June 7 council meeting.
Several public commenters spoke against the biergarten idea, saying it detracted from the event.
“I think this biergarten idea is absolutely not going to work because the people who drink are going to drink, and the people who aren’t going to drink aren’t going to drink… regardless of if you put a rope up and make them stand behind it,” Brain Bernasconi said.
Councilmember Marico Sayoc ultimately made a motion to designate dispensing points where imbibers could get wristbands and exchange a token for a drink. Her motion, which passed unanimously, also boosted the number of paid security staff on duty to manage the crowds.
Council earlier this year gave the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce $120,000 to host seven summer Promenades to celebrate the “reopening of our community.”