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BEMIDJI CITY COUNCIL: Council KOs kickboxing event

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji City Council on Monday voted 6-0 to deny downtown sports bar Toasty Beavers permission to host a kickboxing event and street dance in May.

The bar’s owners had sent a letter requesting the council’s blessing for them to block off part of Third Street and serve alcohol at the event.  

Mayor Rita Albrecht cited “numerous” police calls and complaints regarding Toasty Beavers during regular operations as the likely reason the council was opposed to the request. Although the bar had said they would keep out underage event-goers after 10 p.m. with the use of wristband designations, Albrecht said based on her experience organizing a street dance, it would still be difficult to prevent underage drinking.

“The likelihood of those under 21 being served alcohol prior to 10 o’clock is quite high,” she said. “Then, trying to round up those that are not 21 and trying to exit them from the event area is another challenge.”

The owner of Full Nelson Promotions, Shawn Nelson, told the council that kickboxing is safer than mixed martial arts. Before the council voted, he attempted to ease concerns there would be an issue with security at the event.

“In all reality, we have never had any problems with security out of the 15 events we’ve put on,” he said.

Council member Reed Olson was absent from Monday's meeting.