ALBANY -- Talk about turning lemonade into lemons.
A 7-year-old boy had to shut down his lemonade stand outside the Saratoga County Fair on Friday after his family was ordered to do so by an inspector for the state Health Department.
Brendan Mulvaney, 7, and his family told the Daily Gazette in Schenectady last weekend about having to close his stand that was outside the Saratoga County Fair — which was near where his family lives. The family charged fair goers for parking on their lawn, as well as offered the lemonade.
"She didn't introduce herself, she didn't leave a card," Brendan's dad, Sean, told the Albany Times Union in Albany, on Sunday.
"She asked if we had a permit and I said 'no' and she told us we couldn't do it. Then she started taking pictures. She was rude."
The state Health Department on Sunday evening said it was investigating the incident and apologized to the boy and his family.
"While we work to confirm the inspection was performed by DOH staff and the surrounding circumstances, we offer Brendan an apology for any inconvenience," the agency said in a statement.
On Monday afternoon, the agency said an inspector did visit the family's home after complaints from four vendors at the fair that the house was selling lemonade and other beverages similar to their own.
As a result, the inspector, who was already at the fair, visited the house and asked if they had a permit to sell the items.
When the family said it did not, the inspector told them to close up shop, said Gary Holmes, a spokesman for state Health Department.
He said the inspector reported she did not see any children at the stand.
"What they were doing was very much in line with what the vendors were doing on the fairgrounds. They were offering the same scope and size," Holmes said.
Holmes added that the state isn't out to close down the typical roadside lemonade stand that kids operate.
"Kids setting up small lemonade shops there: DOH inspectors use their discretion. They are not shutting that stuff down," he said.
"This came up as a result of other vendors asking us if we were aware of it. We went and checked it out. We didn’t see any kids selling lemonade there."
Brendan told the Times Union he was "really mad" the stand was shuttered.
After the Health Department's further explanation Monday, the boy's father, Sean, told the Times Union his son was merely selling 75-cent lemonade and water.
"Yesterday, they issue an apology and today I need a permit," the father told the newspaper. "This makes no sense."
The squeeze drew criticism from local political leaders and even Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive.
Sen. Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, Schenectady County, visited Mulvaney and his family on Sunday to lend his support.
The boy was hoping to save the money from the stand to go to Disney World, his father, Sean, wrote on Facebook last week. He could not be reached for comment Monday.
"This little guy is seven years old wants to have a lemonade stand and make his own money," his father wrote.
"He says he wants to save for Disney you really can’t blame him so really come out and support him."
Tedisco knocked state government.
"What has our state government come to? When I was a kid, state bureaucrats didn’t go around shutting down lemonade stands and threatening children and families with fines," he said in a statement.