Three Tasteful Endeavors

These craft beer events also help their communities

The craft craze continues as three more major craft beer events are scheduled for October. And that doesn’t include the fourth annual Wilmington Beer Week, which will feature the best craft beer destinations in Greater Wilmington Nov. 1-8.

These events not only give attendees the opportunity to taste great beer, proceeds from all three will help support the host community. So get out your calendar (or your iPad or smart phone), and make a note of these dates. Oh, and all events are rain or shine.

The River Towns Craft Beer Festival is part of the River Towns Ride & Festival, taking place in Historic Delaware City and Historic New Castle from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4. There is no admission fee; it will be a pay-as-you go event with more than 16 craft beers or ciders featured including: Brooklyn Brewery, Lagunitas, Oskar Blues, Twin Lakes, Third Wave, 16 Mile,Weyerbacher and Six Point. A complimentary shuttle will be running between the two towns and live music will be provided by four bands: Special Delivery and Lyric Drive (New Castle); The Bullets and Buffalo Chip & The Heard (Delaware City). Aside from the craft beer component, there will be plenty of family activities (hay rides, pony rides, pumpkin decorating, games, exhibitions) and a recreational bike ride between the two towns that starts at 12:30 p.m. For details, visit rivertownsfestival.com.

The Kennett Brewfest is set for Saturday, Oct. 11, from 2 to 6 p.m. on South Broad Street in Kennett Square. Tickets are $50 for general admission, $70 for Connoisseur tickets, and $15 for designated driver tickets. The Connoisseur pass includes a two-hour early admission, plus tastings of select beers with food pairings. “We should be featuring close to 100 breweries for the regular festival and featuring 34 of them in our hugely popular Connoisseur session,” says event chairman Jeff Norman. The designated driver ticket includes non-alcoholic beverages and prohibits the ticket-holder from purchasing alcoholic drinks. Part of the profits will go toward the Historic Kennett Square organization. The event is for 21 and over only. For more information, visit kennettbrewfest.com.

The Delaware Wine & Beer Festival is from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11, at the 19th Century Farm Village on Dupont Highway in Dover. Tickets are $60 for general admission, $75 for VIP passes, and $10 for designated driver. The VIP pass includes additional tastings, the chance to vote on a favorite, a complimentary beer glass, and giveaways. The designated driver ticket grants admission to the event but restricts purchasing of any alcoholic beverages. The event is 21 and older, except for designated drivers. Activities include a keg tossing competition, corn hole tournament, and a merchandise store. “We like to offer something out of the ordinary for our festival-goers,” says executive director Cindy Small. This event was one of the 2014 “Top 100 USA Events” chosen by the American Bus Association. The festival is 21 and over except for designated drivers. More information is available at delawarewineandbeerfestival.com.

Save the Valley

Open Space Festival set for Sept. 21 at Bellevue

The nonprofit group Save the Valley has set its second Open Space Music Festival for Sunday, Sept. 21, at Bellevue State Park’s Figure 8 Barn.

Utilizing the joy of music and the outdoor venue, Save the Valley will once again raise funds and awareness for the preservation of Beaver Valley. Some 800 acres of the valley, located on the border of Delaware and Pennsylvania in Woodlawn territory, may be sold to developers by Woodlawn Trustees.

“This is an awareness-raising effort in that each person who comes out to listen to some really good music on Sept. 21st becomes a potential spokesperson for this preservation effort,” says Save the Valley President Jason Hoover.

The nonprofit organization fears that development of the area will result in enormous increases in traffic as well as the addition of hundreds of houses, parking lots, and commercial enterprises. “If the development proposal gets rejected and the Woodlawn Trustees decide to offer their parcel to land conservation groups instead of to developers, then we will help raise the funds necessary to purchase the land,” says Hoover.

An online petition, bumper stickers and more are available on the group’s website, savethevalley.org.

Save the Valley is also on Facebook, and, says Hoover, “Our Facebook likes are an indication of the impact these articles have had; we are currently just south of 5,000 likes.”
The festival, from noon to 10 p.m., will feature seven bands and artists from around the country.

“We have national acts coming in, which is a testament to the worthiness of this cause,” Hoover says. Among those appearing will be John Gallagher, Jr., a Wilmington native who stars in the HBO series The Newsroom. Local band New Sweden, which played at one of the Save the Valley meetings last year, also will perform. Beer will be provided by Twin Lakes Brewery.

Tickets are $45 and are available online at openspacemusic.org or savethevalley.org.

Celebrating Oktoberfest

Delaware’s biggest tribute to German heritage is Sept. 19-21

Lederhosen and bratwurst, accordions and beer: It’s time once again for the annual Delaware Saengerbund Oktoberfest, the largest celebration of German heritage and culture in Delaware.

Set for Friday, Sept. 19, through Sunday, Sept. 21, in Newark, the festivities will get underway with a parade led by the Munich child, a symbol of the city of Munich. A Bavarian dance group will perform throughout the weekend, and traditional German platters such as bratwurst (pork sausage) and weisswurst (veal sausage) will be in abundance. Oktoberfest souvenirs and Bavarian clothing also will be available.

Some 20,000 visitors are expected for the family-friendly event, which includes midway amusement rides and games at the Saengerbund headquarters, 49 Salem Church Road.
Tickets are $8 per person.

For more information, visit delawaresaengerbund.org.

A Fine Idea

Inaugural event will showcase 21 upscale area restaurants

Twenty area restaurants will offer specially-crafted menus at prix-fixe prices during Brandywine Valley Restaurant Week from Monday, Sept. 8, through Saturday, Sept. 13.
Participating restaurants in this inaugural event are from Northern Delaware and Southern Chester County, and all but one are owner-operated. That lineup is intentional, as a principal goal of Brandywine Valley Restaurant Week is to highlight the culinary talent and local food producers that are unique to the area. So, expect to taste local meats, cheese, produce and wine that will in many cases be prepared by the creative mind behind the restaurant.

“We have assembled a great team of fantastic restaurant minds, chefs, and collaborators to work together to create an event that will set this week apart,” says Carl Georigi, owner of twoparticipating restaurants—Eclipse and Red Fire.

“This gives people who’ve never been to one of my restaurants an excellent reason to give us a try,” says Dan Butler, owner of three contributing eateries—Deep Blue, Piccolina Toscana and Brandywine Prime.

“The Brandywine Valley is such an amazing area. I think it’s great for all of our local restaurants to participate so we can all together showcase what this area has to offer,” says Ann Kolenick, owner of The Gables at Chadds Ford.

Diners visiting two or more of the participants during Brandywine Valley Restaurant Week will have a chance to win an impressive grand prize—dinner for two once a month for a year.

For more information, visit brandywinetaste.com.

The Debate is On!

Best pumpkin ale to be decided at Bellevue event

The fourth annual Great Pumpkin Debate is back, on Saturday, Sept. 27, from 6 to 10 p.m. in Bellevue State Park’s Figure 8 Barn.

Hosted by Peco’s Liquors, the adults-only night will include a hayride through the park, a late night bonfire, and of course the great debate. There will be numerous pumpkin ales to vote on, but only one can win.

Live music and barbecue, provided by Big Rick’s BBQ, will be part of the festivities.
“The event is a lot of fun,” says Ed Mulvihill of Peco’s. “It’s a throw-back to being a kid, going on a hayride in the fall, enjoying the season, only it’s a grownup version with pumpkin beer.”

Tickets, which include the hayride and samples of the beers, are $30.
Proceeds will go toward the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary. “Let’s be honest, you can’t have great Delaware craft beer without clean water,” says Mulvihill.

For more information, visit pecosliquors.com.