Vendors Draw Straws for Choice Spots
At 5 p.m. today, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs will hold a lottery for 28 street vending spots around Nationals Park. The ballpark has been a sore subject for longtime peddlers who said the city was blocking them from selling hats and hot dogs in front of the new stadium. They did not understand why they could not vend at Nationals Park because they had done so at RFK Stadium.
They also questioned why On the Fly, a hip, new vendor offering gourmet food, had a location at the stadium. Many vendors said DCRA, which has been pushing to change the image and food options on carts around the city, favored On the Fly. Turns out the savvy On the Fly was actually on private property.
But council members questioned DCRA, and DCRA pointed the finger back at the council, which the agency said needed to approve vending on the public space in that area. The council did that, and this week, DCRA has held information sessions for vendors to lead up to today's lottery.
Winners will enjoy their spots for one month, starting on June 1. Then the process starts all over again with a lottery on the last Tuesday of each month until the baseball season ends.
To avoid any appearance of favoritism, the lottery will be conducted by an independent contractor, said Michael Rupert, spokesman for the DCRA.
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