On Thursday, residents of this city — and some nonresidents who are registered owners of real estate — will vote on whether or not liquor by the drink will be allowed to stay. The campaign signs for and against the measure say much about the divisiveness of the issue here. Anyone who came to the Election Commission office to early-vote could not have missed the two large green signs that say “Vote FOR Alcohol Tax Revenue For Our Schools.” They would also have noticed a line of smaller signs in between the two larger ones. The smaller ones are white with black lettering. Some say “Vote NO for real liquor control.” Others say “Our Kids Are Not For Sale.” If you favor liquor by the drink, you may see the two larger signs as symbolizing a tidal wave of progress, which — according to that view — needs to sweep over isolated pockets of a last-century attitude that the smaller signs represent. Or, if you oppose the liquor proposal, you might view the smaller signs as symbolic of native guerrilla fighters, defying a well-funded mercenary invasion that is symbolized by the larger signs, and already has a foot in the door.
… Liquor was voted down in May 2009, again in 2011, then approved in the flawed November vote that was voided. Thursday’s referendum will be the fourth in as many years for Pigeon Forge. And some voters are getting weary of it.
Jim Bishop, a former Pigeon Forge resident, worked for the anti-liquor group Concerned Churches and Citizens of Pigeon Forge (CCCPF) as an early-voting poll watcher. “I can’t talk to the voters, but I can hear what they are saying,” he said. He said the most common remarks he has overheard are about having to vote repeatedly on the same issue. But he does not know which side any of those making the remarks are on.