Beer Fest draws crowd to REO Town
A little rain didn’t stop a festive crowd from coming out to the second annual Beer Fest on June 28 in REO Town.
The event was celebrated as a part of Michigan Beer Week. The event crammed over 1,000 people from all over Michigan into a sectioned off area in REO Town, closing down part of Washington Avenue.
Also crammed into the tents were over 120 beer kegs, 30 Michigan brewery tents and many vendors.
Steve Johnson, owner of Motor City Brew Tours and one of three organizers of the Beer Fest, said this year’s festival went very well.
“We went from 400 people in the first year of Lansing Beer Fest to 1,000-plus in the second year,” Johnson said. “One hundred percent of our beer was Michigan made; we are very proud of that.”
Brewery workers offered out free samples of beer for people who had purchased a ticket. These samples included beer favorites from each brewery, as well as beers still in experimental stages.
The rain and heat were not a factor as people piled in. Tents protected guests from the rain. Over 2,000 gallons of beer saved people from thirst on the hot day.
“Overall the weather did not affect our attendance and we still had a great crowd,” Johnson said.
Food vendors included Old Town’s Meat and downtown Lansing’s What Up Dawg. The event also featured local entertainment. Mike Warner, Joe Wright and headliner Lights & Caves performed.
Johnson said they picked REO Town to showcase what the area has to offer.
“We chose Reo Town because we wanted to show folks all of the great work that the city of Lansing and the Reo Town Commercial Association are doing to revitalize the area,” Johnson said.
Event-goer Laura Samuel said she has been to many festivals, but the Beer Fest topped her list.
“I go to a lot of beer festivals all over Michigan, and I’ve got to say that this one is really impressive,” Samuel said. “The music is great, the area is interesting, and there is beer I have never tried before.”
LCC student Peter Tentin also came out to enjoy the Beer Fest.
“I’ve been so busy focusing on the summer semester that coming here, having a few drinks, and taking a break from everything was great,” Tentin said.
According to Johnson this was a very successful event compared to past years, when the event was held in the parking lot behind a church and had 12 breweries with 300 tickets sold.
“This event is great because you get an opportunity to share your love of craft beer, music and food with your friends and meet new people with those same interests,” Johnson said. “If we can create an event that accomplishes that for the community, then we have done our job correctly.”