The promises to be an event the likes of which has yet to be seen in the Greater Willow Grove area.
The festival, slated for June 3, will feature over 100 local, national and international beers, representing 55 breweries. But, unlike more familiar run-of-the-mill products, each showcased beer holds the distinction of being finely crafted.
“Craft beer has become much more accessible,” Michael Brookshire said.
Brookshire, who proudly describes himself as a “Beer Geek,” explained that craft beer and accompanying craft beer festivals are emerging trends, much in the same way wine connoisseurs regard fine wine and wine tasting events.
According to Brookshire, it’s for this reason that the Willow Grove Community Services organization chose to take on a craft beer festival.
“We wanted to have an event that would have a large impact,” he said.
Brookshire, who is a board member of the Willow Grove Community Services organization, said that the nonprofit provides financial services and other community outreach programs for at-risk children, needy individuals and their families. He adds that Willow Grove Community Services has a particular focus with military veteran families.
All proceeds from the Willow Grove Craft Beer Festival will benefit Willow Grove Community Services.
From Retail Space to Festival Venue
According to Brookshire, the event will both be a first for the Greater Willow Grove area, as well as Willow Grove Community Services’ first major fundraiser. As event organizer, Brookshire said that the nonprofit starting making plans by late February this year.
After briefly considering one of the vacated hangers at the Willow Grove Air Base, Brookshire said that the organization was given the opportunity to hold the festival in the former Ross Dress for Less retail space, located in The Plaza at Willow Grove Park.
Goodman Properties, which owns the 28,000 square-foot retail space, provided the venue for free, during the one-day event. It has since become one of three major sponsors of the event, along with Gretz Beer and Storti Quality Consulting.
Also providing major support is the , which will lend its liquor license for the event.
“Everyone has been so helpful,” Brookshire said.
The Willow Grove Craft Beer Festival
The event is scheduled from noon to 5 p.m., and will kick off with the traditional German “tapping of the keg.”
The over 100 craft beers available will have sample stations set up throughout the venue, complete with volunteers ready to explain the artistry and craftsmanship behind each sample.
A list of the craft beers can be found on the event’s website, www.wgbeerfest.com, and includes leading craft favorites, such as Southern Tier, Tallgrass and Rogue Ales.
Brookshire also highlights three particular beers that will make their international market debut at the Willow Grove Craft Beer Festival: Goose Island Kona Brewing and Evolution.
Several themed areas will also be set up throughout the venue, and include:
- Showcasing the Landshark Finmobile and Sharkfin Inflatable, while pouring Landshark and Margaritaville Tea, Lemonade, Punch and Margarita from the Landshark Tiki Hut.
The Stella Artois 9-step Pouring Ritual:
- Guests will submit their name to be randomly chosen to learn and demonstrate the 9-step pouring ritual. Each demonstrator will receive a Stella Artois Chalice and all will be entered to win Stella Artois Prizes.
Here’s to the Heroes:
- Patriotic display and raffle items to be provided to support Budweiser’s “Red, White and Blue” summer program, which raises money for the Folds of Honor Program to support returning troops.
Greatest Beers of the World:
- Attendees can sign up to win prizes via the “Greatest Beers of the World” website, while sampling exclusive and limited, hard-to-find brands.
In addition to beer sampling, visitors to the Willow Grove Craft Beer festival will also be treated to live music, including the Irish, Scottish and Canadian folk-rock band Fake MacKenzie, whose members are active military servicemen and women.
While not included in the price of admission, local restaurants will have stands, selling food throughout the venue.
Other attractions include raffle prizes such as a flat-screen TV, and an opportunity for visitors to have their picture taken with a military vehichle.
Brookshire said that he hopes at least 1,000 people to come out to the Willow Grove Craft Beer Festival in support of Willow Grove Community Services. Should the inaugural festival be successful, he also hopes to continue the event for years to come.
“This is not something to do one time and be done with it,” Brookshire said. “We want this to be on people’s calendars.”
Going to the Willow Grove Craft Beer Festival?
Where: Plaza at Willow Grove Park, 2500 Moreland Road (Next to Dick's Sporting Goods) inside the former Ross Dress for Less
Date: Sunday, June 3
When: Noon – 5 p.m.
Price: $35 pre-registered; $45 at the door (online ticket sales will end at midnight on June 1) Tickets can also be pre-purchased at the , 419 Davisville Road in Willow Grove.
What: Willow Grove BeerFest, featuring 120 craft beer, representing 55 local, national and international breweries. Proceeds will benefit Willow Grove Community Services, Inc.
The Willow Grove Craft Beer Festival is currently seeking sponsors, as well as volunteers to help with several different areas of the event.
For more information, visit www.wgbeerfest.com.