Even though their reservation was canceled at Holy Mackerel, a group of Trump supporters still arrived at the brewery ready for the show to go on.
The Hawaiian-themed event, hosted by the Trump Victory Leadership Initiative, was canceled by the venue after an uproar from the community. Staff claims they didn’t know it was a political event, which they would not have allowed to be hosted at their venue.
Still, a white van owned by Tama’s Polynesian Show with two Trump/Pence signs on the back window was parked in front of the brewery at the time of the reservation.
“I guess these guys are seeing everything that we’re seeing on social media and they probably said to themselves, ‘Well, we’re going anyways,’” Ehab Atallah, the director of operations for Holy Mackerel, said.
He said a small group from the party showed up but was turned away by the general manager on site, who reminded them that their reservation had been canceled. They said they knew that, but they want to come have a drink and eat anyway. When that request was denied, they asked if they could have a drink or even a bottle of water.
Across the street, a few Biden protesters waved flags and signs to coincide with the canceled event. The city requested Wilton Manors Police officers to keep tabs on the area, according to Atallah — officers escorted the Trump event attendees from the brewery. No one was agitated or got aggressive.
“The other side is seeing … this happening and the first thing they’re saying is ‘See, you guys lied,’” Atallah said.
A Biden/Harris supporter. Photo by Carina Mask.
The Trump Victory Leadership Initiative had planned to host a Champion Patriot Challenge at the brewery, where they invited the public to “connect with great people and like-mind conservatives.” The event organizer did not respond to an email or call from South Florida Gay News.
A second event was planned for Oct. 13, hosted by Team Trump Broward. The private event was the group’s Fourth Annual BBQ & Brew, where they were hosting local candidates and organizers encouraged attendees to “proudly wear your TRUMP and Republican candidate gear!”
Word spread through social media, with some feeling that the events were not appropriate in LGBT-friendly Wilton Manors, while others said it was their right to host events wherever they wanted. Others criticized Holy Mackerel for agreeing to let the events take place at their establishment.
The brewery, which opened at the end of January, was bombarded on social media criticizing them for hosting the events. After shutting down their pages, Atallah wrote a post explaining the situation and providing his personal cell phone number.
He told SFGN Wednesday that staff was not aware that the two reservations made were for political events with outside food being brought in. That would not have been allowed if they knew, he said.
“Here we are caught in the middle of this for no reason,” he said. “I want it to end. Enough is enough.”
On Wednesday Atallah also told SFGN their business was not political.
“We would not push our political views towards the business in any way,” he said. “It wouldn’t do the staff any justice.”
Some people in the community though pointed out there was a sign in their window supporting one of the Wilton Manors mayoral candidates.
Photo credit: Michael Rajner