WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) - A popular event in Wausau has been cancelled after legal issues surfaced. Exhibitour has been recognized as a popular and successful award-winning event where participants enjoy art and wine at several downtown business locations.
The problem? Exhibitour has been operated in the past by the use of picnic licenses for serving alcoholic beverages, which recently was questioned by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue and by the Wisconsin League of Municipalities. Both believe it is not legal to utilize picnic licenses in this manner and would be a violation of state liquor laws.
Kari Rasmussen is the Director for Wausau Area Events. She says saving the event is not a simple as removing the wine. “I’m hearing that from a lot of people already. Just take the wine out, it’s the same event. It’s not. When you have promises to sponsors and business owners, it’s a completely different event and we just didn’t think we had enough time to readjust and essentially rebrand this event.”
She says Wausau Area Events will communicate with the businesses and get their input, but admits it is unlikely Exhibitour will come back exactly as it was. “I think we would consider looking at another art event that does involve our businesses. We’re just not not sure what that is and when that can be.”
Making changes to Exhibitour on a limited amount of time also influenced the Wausau Area Events board’s decision to cancel the event Thursday morning. Rasmussen says it takes months of planning and communication to present an event the public sees for a few short hours. She believes making changes now just won’t work, and it’s unlikely that Exhibitour will return. “Our logo is a wine glass with a paint brush in it. This is what Exhibitour has always been. If you take out a major component, it’s not the same event, so we would completely come up with a new event.”