By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The Sturgis City Council has agreed to change city ordinances to allow attendees at the town’s famed motorcycle rally to drink beer or wine outside of bars or restaurants.
The council approved the change during its meeting this week. This year’s rally will be held from Aug. 6-15.
There is a caveat, though. An official Sturgis rally cup must be purchased and used if patrons want to consume beer or wine outside of bars or restaurants during the rally, to be held Aug. 6-15. No hard liquor will be allowed outside of bars or restaurants, per a South Dakota ordinance.
Open containers will be allowed from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day of the rally, unless problems occur. If crowds begin to act rowdy due to alcohol consumption, open containers will again be banned.
A city council report said council members decided to allow open containers this year to create a more welcoming environment for visitors, keep people from gathering in tight spaces to discourage the spread of coronavirus and to establish new significant revenue streams for local charities through the sale of the official Sturgis cups.
The open containers will also only be allowed in a certain portion of the city, stretching from Seventh Street to Middle Street.
Funds raised from the sale of the cups will go to the Sturgis Rally Charities Foundation.
Last year, the South Dakota Highway Patrol made a total of 145 arrests during the rally related to driving under the influence, which was down from 171 DUI arrests in 2019. Seven vehicles were also seized in connection with drug possession charges.
The SDHP made 241 misdemeanor and 126 felony drug arrests in 2020.