Revelers can legally drink beer and wine while walking the streets of downtown Delaware on May 26, when the city will take advantage of its Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area for the first time.

The occasion will be the fifth annual New Moon Half and Quarter Marathon and the Crescent Moon 5K, held by the nonprofit Greenswell Foundation. The race is scheduled from 6 to 10 p.m.

The Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, concept was created in 2015 by Ohio House Bill 47. It allows communities with populations of at least 35,000 to designate at least one DORA zone.

The zones can be used during approved community events and allow open containers of alcohol, if at least four existing liquor-permit holders participate in the sales.

Several central Ohio suburbs, including Hilliard and Worthington, have instituted DORAs, with events generally drawing good reviews from leaders and residents.

Greenswell Foundation race director Craig Thompson said the DORA concept is designed to help make events such as the New Moon Half and Quarter Marathon a success.

The DORA allows only beer and wine in open containers, he said. In previous years, beer and wine sales were limited to a beer garden during the race.

Participating businesses selling beer and wine must use special cups that show drinks are sold under DORA auspices.

Delaware's DORA zone is bounded by Union and Franklin streets to the east and west, and Central Avenue and Spring Street to the north and south.

City spokesman Lee Yoakum said City Council instructed staff to see what was involved with implementing a DORA zone before council voted to create it in October.

At the time, City Manager Tom Homan said the DORA also could be used during the Performance Classic Car Show, held annually in July.

Event organizers are required to notify downtown businesses and property owners if an event is to include a DORA, Yoakum said.

The city's DORA website, delawareohio.net/exploring-the-dora, notes businesses that choose not to have alcohol brought in may post a sign stating that.

Thompson said about 15 percent of marathon participants are from Delaware.

What's really exciting, he said, are all the other people the race brings downtown.

"We kind of bill the event as a tour of Delaware on two feet," Thompson said. "We go through the historic downtown, where the races start and finish. We go through the Ohio Wesleyan campus, through the beautiful neighborhoods, down the trails along the Olentangy River. Mingo Park is featured.

"The feedback we get from participants new to town is they bring their family back, they make return visits, they buy antiques for their families," he said.

Newcomers usually don't know what Delaware is about until they visit, he said.

"It's a great event for all involved, and it's a partnership with the city of Delaware and all the merchants," Thompson said. "A lot of family members come to watch their loved ones. While they wait, they sit in the downtown patios. We see them dining and eating."

This year, he said, "We are partnering with local restaurants and establishments that have chosen to participate. ... When athletes finish, they can go into an establishment, get an adult drink, get food and listen to a live band (Delaware-based In a Jam)."

The race also welcomes its many volunteers, he said.

"We give volunteers a T-shirt. Course marshals get a gift card," Thompson said. "Last year, money from the event went to youth swimming programs."

He said the race tries to give more than 51 percent of race proceeds to the community and averages about 60 percent.

The recipients, he said, are volunteer groups, nonprofits, youth programs and community programs.

Race participants can register at tinyurl.com/delawarenewmoon.

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