Beer tasting, tastefully done

By on January 30, 2014

Lititz Craft Beer Fest, a two-block event, coming in September

The Lititz Ambucs is working on a new downtown event that promises to draw a unique blend of people while benefiting the Warwick Ambulance Association.

Ambucs board member Dick Nuffort, along with numerous club members and volunteers, were on hand for Tuesday evening’s Lititz Borough Council meeting to present details for a proposed first-ever Lititz Craft Beer Fest to be held Sunday, Sept. 28.

Nuffort cited the level of excitement in planning such an event, as evidenced by the number of young, non-Ambucs members who had stepped forward to help the committee.

Proposed is a three-hour craft beer fest which would be held on a two-block section of Main Street. Various craft breweries from across the region would be invited to set up beer tasting booths. Interspersed between the craft brewery stands would be a wide variety of food trucks.

“This is a craft beer tasting event,” explained Nuffort. “This type of event attracts a unique group who come out to sample beer. Patrons would purchase a bracelet for between $35 and $40.”

Nuffort emphasized that this is a tastefully done event.

“Again, this is a beer tasting event,” he emphasized. “This is not a frat party or a beech party or a drinking party, but a sampling party. In fact, the mix of people would be very similar to what you see at the General Sutter Inn on a Saturday or Sunday evening.”

The event is intended to be a fundraising opportunity for the Ambucs and the ambulance association.

“Why have this event?” Nuffort asked. “There is no personal gain from this event but for money to be raised to donate back to charitable causes in our area. We have also seen a lot of excitement from young people to have such an event. This is evidenced by the number of young people volunteering to help.”

Part of that excitement is that an ad-hoc committee has been formed for planning the event. And that committee boasts a number of people from across the community who are not Ambucs yet have stepped forward to share their expertise to assure a successful, tastefully done event.

According to Nuffort, the group has looked into similar events held in other communities to gain insight into what it would take to create a successful event.

Nuffort proactively addressed concerns about alcohol consumption before council could raise any questions.

“The ticket price is what separates the people looking to do a lot of drinking and those looking to go do some craft beer sampling,” explained Nuffort.

Sergeant Kerry Nye from the Lititz Police Department was on hand at Tuesday’s meeting and concurred with Nuffort’s claim. He said he had discussed the proposed plan with police officials in Kennet Square, where a similar event has been held for several years. According to Kennet Square officials, six police officers were used the first year but since then that number has been dropped to three, with no problems reported as a result of the festival. In fact, he said he had received a very positive report from their police.

Council member Douglas Bomberger asked about the size of the anticipated crowd. Nuffort said they could reasonably expect two thousand people to turn out, conceding that he was unsure what that number might be for the first year.

Bomberger then questioned Nye on his level of comfort with a two-block long festival.

“With the Zombie Run we had beer gardens set up as designated areas where alcohol could be consumed,” noted Bomberger. “Sgt. Nye, do we need that here?”

Nye said he was comfortable being able to police something that size, but not larger.

Nuffort added that the event was planned on a Sunday so as to not conflict with retailers. However, he added that already news that a craft beer festival was being planned has leaked to some of those retailers. Aaron’s Books has inquired about setting up a stand at the event to feature books on the subject of craft beers and possibly even having a book signing held simultaneously.

“We have four or five businesses consistently open on a Sunday,” noted council president Karen Weibel. “Have you reached out to the merchants, the downtown merchants association and even Venture Lititz with your plans?

Nuffort said that no formal discussions had taken place until they had council’s blessing to move forward. However, he pointed out that with the degree of information already getting out, informal discussions on the matter had taken place with Venture Lititz’s Kelly Withum.

But he emphasized that nothing had been publicly discussed on the matter.

Satisfied that all concerns had been addressed, council voted unanimously to approve the event.

Already the event has it’s own Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/LititzCraftBeerFest.

As of press time, the page had already accumulated 458 “likes.”

For additional information on Lititz Borough, please visit their newly revised website at www.lititzborough.org. Gary P. Klinger welcomes your feedback via email at klingerglobal@gmail.com.

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