ROCK FALLS – Which candidate would you rather have a beer with?
The question often is asked in political campaigns. Next week provides voters a rare opportunity to find out, sort of.
A number of local candidates will be guest bartenders from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at Long Shot Bar & Grill. The event, hosted by the Rock Falls Chamber of Commerce, is a fundraiser for Hometown Holidays.
Bethany Bland, president and CEO of the Rock Falls chamber, was looking for an out-of-the-ordinary way to introduce candidates.
"We've done more of a forum atmosphere, we like that," Bland said. "This is something new. We've never done anything like this here. It's casual and you can have a conversation with the candidates like this."
Candidates will be tending bar, serving and selling snacks, and mingling with guests, Bland said.
"They already have a built-in audience," she said. "There's already a group of people [that are] going to be in this place."
Bland said feedback on the event so far has been "fantastic." She said the chamber wanted to give candidates and voters a chance to interact in a different environment.
"We're not planning to have anybody make speeches or do anything like that," she said. "They can come right up to a candidate and ask them a question. It's an entirely different feel to a candidates night. [They are] actually going to meet a candidate."
Tips for the guest bartenders will go toward the cost of putting on Hometown Holidays, Bland said. There also will be a 50/50 raffle.
"It's really a great way for candidates to have an opportunity to meet people on an individual basis," she said. "Hometown Holidays is a favorite event. They get to meet face to face while supporting that event."
The Rock Falls Chamber of Commerce will have its Meet the Candidates/Guest Bartenders Night from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at Long Shot Bar & Grill, 3312 W. Rock Falls Road.
Tips given to candidates will go toward expenses for Hometown Holidays, scheduled for Nov. 15-18 in Rock Falls.
Candidates who would like to participate can call the chamber at 815-625-4500. Candidates are encouraged to RSVP as soon as they can. The deadline to do so is Oct. 15.
At the bar
So far, the following candidates are scheduled to be guest bartenders:
– Joan Padilla, Democratic candidate for Whiteside County recorder
– Karl Kovarik, Democratic candidate for Whiteside County circuit clerk
– Gene Jacoby, Democratic candidate for Whiteside County Board
– Jerry Stanley, Republican candidate for Whiteside County Board
– Trish Joyce, Democratic candidate for Whiteside County state's attorney
– Bryan Davis, a representative for U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona
– State Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline
– Kurt Glazier, Republican candidate for Whiteside County Board
– Joan Johnson, Republican candidate for Whiteside County Board