The sixth annual Valparaiso BrewFest is one of the city’s most popular events of the year. The lines began at a digital ticket booth in May and on September 26th they spilled onto the streets of Valparaiso. People could not wait to get in.
This year, Valparaiso Events had tickets selling fast, as they sold out within 13 minutes - an impressive time until you compare it with the VIP tickets, which sold out in 30 seconds.
The BrewFest, in conjunction with many valuable sponsors, is what helps Valparaiso Events host many of their other community events for free. The money goes toward the annual budget for projects like Summer Rhapsody and the Popcorn Fest. The BrewFest is good for bringing people in to Valparaiso's downtown.
“50% of the attendees are from outside Porter County,” said Executive Director Tina St. Aubin. “We hope that afterward, they stay and enjoy the community.”
It takes a lot of planning to pull off the BrewFest, especially since St. Aubin’s crew consists of four people. She said that without the support of BrewFest Partners’ president Kurt Foreman, they would never be able to do it.
Foreman coordinates 14 different BrewFests throughout the country. He was proud to help out in Valparaiso, where the fest is one of the biggest he coordinates. “It’s a great community,” said Foreman. “We get great support from the businesses and Tina’s team is amazing.”
The vendors themselves think the BrewFest is a great event to have in town. Denise Coros of Trail Inn Liquors said, “It's a way for everyone to know that we are a local establishment. It gives outsiders a chance to see our beautiful town and all our businesses. And our nice new park!”
The volunteers agree that it brings people to the city. Syndi Pykes, the woman who was in charge of welcoming other BrewFest staff, said “It brings in a lot of out of town people, even out of state. It let’s them see what we have to offer.”
The designated driver’s tent registered people from as far as Hawaii. They distributed root beer and water to the patrons avoiding alcohol.
Attendee Mark Kiger had just one complaint: “There are only three hours left! Go big or go home.”