Note to any kids operating lemonade stands, especially near high-profile events: You’re going to need a permit for that.
Children from two families set up a lemonade stand on a neighbor’s yard near the U.S. Open golf tournament in Bethesda, Md., late last week, right across from a spectator entrance. County officials visited the stand three times on Thursday (the first day of the tournament)—twice to warn them, then to issue a citation for operating the stand without a permit and a $500 fine on the third visit.
Jennifer Hughes, director of permitting for Montgomery County, told WUSA9 that all lemonade stands legally need permits, although inspectors often don’t target your everyday, low-profile, neighborhood lemonade stands. Hughes said that the county warned other vendors about operating near the U.S. Open because of traffic and safety concerns, and noted that this particular lemonade stand exceeded the size of a typical lemonade stand. (The kids served lemonade out of four coolers under a 10x10 tent, according to WUSA9.)
It’s worth noting that these weren’t kids from any two random families; They happened to be Marriotts (of hotel fame) and Augustines (of Lockheed Martin). Needless to say, these two powerful families weren’t thrilled with the lack of hospitality from the county officials.
“I don’t agree, I think the county is wrong,” Carrie Marriott told WUSA9 on Thursday. “We’re sending the money to charity.”
After local news stations picked up on the controversy Thursday night, the county allowed the kids to reopen their lemonade stand on Friday—albeit, 25 feet away from the original location, according to the Associated Press. The county waived the $500 fee and also waived the stand’s need for a permit, which would have cost $38.
Rene Augustine, the mother of three of the stand operators, told the AP that the kids’ original plan was to donate 50 percent of the profits to the nonprofit organization Just Tryan It, which aims to help children with cancer. Augustine told the AP that now, after the controversy, all the stand’s proceeds would go to charity.
And for what it’s worth, the uproar ignited by the stand’s placement may have ended up doing more good than harm. A man donated a $250 check to the stand on Friday after hearing of the controversy, the AP reports.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.