Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Owner complains Obama’s beer tent stop cost him $25,000
◼ Obama’s fair stop Monday evening required shutdown of the popular Bud Tent, the heart of fairgrounds nightlife at the intersection of E. 33rd Street and Grand Avenue. Fairgoers eager to greet the president were ushered inside, screened and scanned by the Secret Service and penned in by yellow caution tape. The entire production required at least two hours, and the president’s sleek black coach bus pulled away from the Bud Tent by 8:30 p.m.
There are “two sides to this story,” said Mike Cunningham II, the third generation owner of the 65-year-old Bud Tent.
On one hand, Cunningham, 39, appreciated the historical significance of Obama’s visit: His great-grandfather, Lloyd Cunningham, was secretary of the fair board from 1942 to 1962 and was on hand to greet then-President Dwight Eisenhower when Ike visited the centennial fair in 1954 with Iowa’s own President Herbert Hoover in tow. (That was the first of four visits by sitting presidents, followed by Gerald Ford in 1975, George W. Bush in 2002 and Obama on Monday.)
On the other hand, the small business owner side of Cunningham fumes that the president “put a damper on what I’m trying to do here.” His Bud Tent was shut down at the most lucrative time of day, with a popular rock cover band, Hairball, about to perform at the Susan B. Knapp Amphitheater next door with legions of thirsty fans.
“I was in a position to make a campaign donation against my will,” said Cunningham, a Republican.
◼ Awful!… Obama Buys Round of Beers at Iowa Beer Tent… Except for the Romney Supporter (Video)