This past weekend, Williamston was home to beers from across the globe at the Williamston International Festival of Lagers — presented by Weekend Survival Kits and assisted by Old Nation Brewing Co.
This first-annual festival went down at McCormick Park, and although it was its first run, Mark Logusz, Old Nation Brewing Co.’s marketing manager, said its inaugural success makes it easy to want to hold it again next year.
“For the festival being in its first year, and even if it weren’t in its first year, we thought it went very well,” said Logusz. “The weather was perfect, the turnout was great and it seemed like everyone had a great time.”
With nearly 600 attendees at its inaugural fest, Williamston will have a lot of preparing to do for next year’s event — they are forecasting about 1000 guests next time around, according to Logusz.
“Attendees came from all around the Midwest, as much of the beer available has never been outside of their home area,” said Logusz.
Heater Allen Brewing is one such brewery. The Oregon-based brewery only produces 1200 barrels of beer per year at its facility, and this was one of the first times Heater Allen has sold its beer outside its home state.
But aside from delicious and unique beers from around the world, all of the breweries represented at this festival were considered lager-centric.
Lager — a type of beer that is fermented, or conditioned, in low temperatures — is one of the most popular and widely consumed styles of beer out there, so for future festivals, there is plenty of room for growth.
“Everything was right on target for what we wanted in a first year festival,” said Logusz. He noted that the pet friendly, kid friendly and picnic atmosphere added to the fest’s success.
But what made the festival so much more meaningful, was that the proceeds went directly to Weekend Survival Kits — an organization which provides food kits on the weekends to children in grades K-5 who may otherwise go hungry.
The program buys and assembles food kits that have enough food basics to make six dinners, four lunches, four breakfasts and two-four snacks. These kits are discreetly delivered into each child’s backpack every other Friday so that the participating children can be fed and ready to learn when they come back to school Monday.
“We really just want to increase awareness and raise money for Weekend Survival Kits,” said Logusz, adding that you can donate directly to the cause at weekendsurvivalkits.org.
“It’s a good cause and we’re definitely going to do it again next year.”