OVERTON — Andria and Zoey Green's lemonade stand was shutdown by police on Monday, but hundreds of East Texans have promised to visit the girls on Saturday when they reopen their booth to give away their tasty cold beverage.
The Green sisters, 7 and 8 years old, learned about city government Monday, when Overton Police Chief Clyde Carter shutdown the stand citing a city ordinance requiring them to have a peddler's permit.
Carter later said the girls did not need a peddler's permit from the city but a health permit from Rusk County.
The sisters said they were selling lemonade and popcorn at their home in the 200 block of Garden Club in Overton to raise money to take their father to a water park for Fathers'Day.
After the family spoke with the Tyler Morning Telegraph and the story hit the newspaper's website and social media, hundreds of people commented and said they planned to make the drive to Overton Saturday for a cup of lemonade.
"I can't believe how this took off and how much support we have had," mom Sandi Green Evans said. "We have two radio stations saying they are going to broadcast from here, TV stations coming out and a local motorcycle group coming to help with traffic."
The girls may not be able sell their lemonade, but thanks to a loophole, they can give it away and accept donations from the public.
Claire Beguzman, Northeast Texas Public Health District registered sanitarian, said her department has never really regulated lemonade stands in the past for the city of Tyler and surrounding area.
"We've talked about lemonade stands, but it is kind of taboo," Ms Beguzman said. "We are more concerned about illegal food vendors selling stuff like homemade tacos from the trunk of their vehicle. We heard about the story in Overton, and we're talking about it, but I've been here 10 years, and we have never regulated them."
Overton City Manager Charles Cunningham said selling lemonade at a stand is illegal, according to state law, and is listed as a prohibited item in the Texas Cottage Food Laws.
"This is not a city ordinance, but a state law that we must enforce," Cunningham said. "We are not out looking for people selling lemonade, but in this case, the police chief was driving around and saw them in the road and stopped due to safety concerns."
Cunnigham said Chief Carter and the rest of the department spend most of their days looking for serious crime, and lemonade capers were not at the top of the list.
"I think this was just a happenstance thing and not something our police do everyday," he said. "I'm 72 years old, and when I was a kid, no one gave something like this a thought, but over time, they are placing restrictions on everything."
Since news of her daughters' plight has spread, Mrs. Evans said the girls have been received tickets to Six Flags and Splash Kingdom. She added that Andria wanted to pay for the tickets before she was assured the tickets were complimentary from the two parks.
"She told one of the guys she hadn't made enough money yet from the lemonade sales to pay him the $105 for the tickets, but he told her that they were given to him by the park to give to her and her sister," Mrs. Evans said.
Since the tickets were donated, Mrs. Evans said any additional donations collected Saturday will be given to the Deana Rinehart and Felicia Roach Overton High School Sports Scholarship Fund.
Mrs. Evans said both women lost their battle with cancer, and the money raised from donations will be give to the scholarship fund that benefits Overton High School students who excel in sports.
Cunningham said officers were aware East Texans may travel to Overton Saturday to visit the sisters' lemonade stand.
"Our approach is to monitor things and make sure there are no problems," he said. "We are not going to be aggressive about looking for violations this weekend, but if needed, we might provide traffic support."
Mrs. Evans said Andria and Zoey hope to have enough lemonade for Saturday.
"This entire thing has been a learning process for the girls, but now they are excited about what Saturday will be like and how many people will show up," she said.
About the law
The 83rd Texas Legislature enacted provisions to the state's Cottage Food Production Operations, which outlaws certain foods from being sold by individuals out of their homes. Lemonade is listed among the items prohibited for sell. To learn more about the Cottage Food laws, visit www.dshs.state.tx.us/foodestablishments/cfpo.