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Local, national brewers to pour side by side at Summer Craft Beer Festival

Over 60 brewers from around the country will come together to showcase their mainstream and specialty brews for the people of Grand Rapids.

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Summer Craft Beer Fest 2013

Summer Craft Beer Fest 2013 /Townsquare Media

Summer Craft Beer Fest 2013

Summer Craft Beer Fest 2013 /Townsquare Media

Summer Craft Beer Fest 2013

Summer Craft Beer Fest 2013 /Townsquare Media

For the fourth year, WGRD and the West Grand Neighborhood Organization came together to organize the Summer Craft Beer Festival, an outdoor festival featuring live music, food, games and craft beer from brewers around the country. The festival is set for July 19 in John Ball Park, 1300 W. Fulton Street, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“60 different breweries will be present at this event, and that’s more than we’ve ever had before. Each brewer brings at least two different beers, so that’s over 100 beers [to enjoy],” says Angela Paasche, live events manager for Townsquare Media.

The day is not just about drinking beer, though.

“It’s more than just a beer festival. It’s learning more about beer [instead] of just the drinking aspect,” Paasche says.

There will be plenty of different breweries and beer samples to choose from, but there will also be food vendors, live music and yard games, such as bean bag toss.

“It’s going to be a blast whether you drink beer or not,” Paasche says.

This year, guests have the option to purchase VIP tickets, which go above and beyond the general admission tickets. VIP tickets include a food voucher and access to exclusive pours from several participating brewers, as well as other perks.

“We partner with the West Grand Neighborhood Association, and their volunteers will be out there. It’s great to give back to Grand Rapids and the West Side,” Paasche says.

The West Grand Neighborhood Association has partners with a variety of local businesses in an effort to raise funds in the face of ever increasing budget cuts.

“Over the last 18 years, we’ve lost about $40,000 [in annual funding],” says Nola Steketee, executive director of West Grand.

“We have to get creative to raise more funds,” Steketee says. “Before [the Craft Beer Festival], we partnered with Clear Channel Media for the Taste of Grand Rapids.” Nola hopes for the same longevity the Taste of Grand Rapids saw.

“We did [the Taste of GR] for 18 years, and we’re hoping to take the Craft Beer Festival to the same heights.”

A portion of the proceeds from the festival will go directly to West Grand to help with funding for their nearly 50 programs, such as neighborhood crime prevention.

General admission tickets are available for $30 in advance and $40 at the door. VIP tickets are available for $45 in advance and $55 at the door. Designated driver tickets are available for a reduced cost with choices for nonalcoholic beverages.

Sponsors for the Summer Craft Beer Festival are Hobart Equipment, Berlin Raceway, Godwin Plumbing, Imperial Beverage, Alliance Beverage Distributing, Hercy A. Fox Sales Co., Drink GR and CB Brewing.

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