Craft beer partiers pack Main Street on a hot afternoon

By on September 27, 2017

A thirst-inducing sun had about 3,000 people wandering East Main Street in Lititz Sunday afternoon, but only 2,000 of them had wrist bands and five-ounce commemorative glasses for the fourth annual Ambucs Craft Beer Fest.

The sunny side of Main Street was the side with the taps, and the shady east side was where people stood to talk, quaff their suds, and and go “Ahhhh” as gentle breezes tempered the heat.

There were 60 breweries at the event and 11 food trucks. You couldn’t buy a ticket on Sunday, because they were all snapped up by the 90th minute after they went on sale in July.

Lititz attorney and Ambucs member Richard Nuffort, who, with his friends Jason Best and Pat Moulds, did a lot of the spadework for the first festival in 2013, said he was pleased with the way the event rolled out this year. He said the event has grown in popularity since the first fest, when it took all of three weeks to sell every ticket to the one-day festival.

Nuffort said one thing that sets the Lititz fest apart from many similar events is that all the labor to run the event is volunteered by the 30 or so regular Ambucs members, plus another dozen or so people who aren’t members. And, he said, all the money raised after expenses goes to local charities. To stay right with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the club must pay for the beer that’s served, but that is by far the single biggest expense. The 2016 fest raised $58,000, and Nuffort said he expects they’ll top that figure this year.

The biggest beneficiary of Ambucs fundraisers is the Warwick Community Ambulance Association, which is actually owned by the club, according to Nuffort. Another 15 local nonprofits benefit from the Ambucs largesse.

Asked by phone on Monday, the day after the event, if the club had picked a date for the 2018 festival, Nuffort chuckled and said the day after was not a good time to ask that question because it is an absolutely draining event, and nobody wants to really think about next year until after they’ve recovered for a couple of weeks.

But he left no doubt that as sure as there’s going to be a 2018, there is going to be another craft beer festival on Main Street in Lititz.

Dick Wanner is a staff writer and photographer for the Record Express. He can be reached at rwanner.eph@lnpnews.com.

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