Craft Beer and Craft Festival aimed at younger audience – Staunton News Leader

STAUNTON — Kailee Urban came up with the idea for the festival at a brainstorming session during one of Staunton Augusta Art Center’s board meetings.

“I said, ‘Hey, we should plan an arts and crafts beer festival, where we merge the artistic community here in Staunton with the art of craft beer-making in the local area.'”

Urban was invited to join the board of the SAAC after serving as a volunteer coordinator for the R.R. Smith Center for History and Art. Part of the reason she joined was to find a way to bring in a younger audience.

The Craft Beer and Craft Festival is Urban’s brainchild for achieving that goal.

She wasn’t sure what to expect at last year’s inaugural event. She knew she wanted to bring in the younger audience and succeed in exposing them to everything the art center had to offer — something she thinks the younger age group doesn’t really know that much about.

“We are still trying to change that,” says Urban.

The SAAC is known for events, such as Art in the Park, but they also have exhibits every six weeks and offer studio programs and courses for the community.

“Because I’m a part of this age group, I feel comfortable saying that until something engages us, we are not going to get involved,” says Urban. “And that’s what this event is looking to do — really engage and involve the younger audience and make it fun.”

Last year’s festival turned out to be a huge success, and SAAC with partner Virginia Eagle is bringing it back for a second time along Barristers Row at the Smith Center. The event’s main draw is craft brews, live music and vendors demonstrating their art while at the festival.

“Our focus is bringing in vendors that can show the artistic process,” says Urban. “We will have a jewelry maker, glass blower, potter, visual artists doing live paintings and woodblock paintings by Angus Carter.”

AVA Restaurant & Wine Bar and Delicious Dishe food truck also will be serving food and drinks throughout the festival.

“We were one of the first events to bring in a food truck and offer it as an option,” says Urban. “We wanted someone fun that could be present and really be involved in the event.”

The music lineup this year includes: 

“This is going to be their first live performance,” Urban says about 23 Skiddoo opening for the festival. “They’re very excited. And Bourbon Barrel Congress had so much fun last year that they’re going to come again.”

Urban talks about the success of last year’s festival.

“We were expecting about 250 to 300 people, and we had over 500 people in attendance. Last year, we did bottles and cans. This year we’re doing kegs, so everything will be on draft.”

Participating breweries include Bold Rock Hard Cider, Brothers Craft Brewing, Devils Backbone Brewery, Pale Fire Brewing, South Street Brewery and Starr Hill Brewery.

The SAAC board met after last year’s event and were impressed with the turnout.

“The crowd that came was really diverse,” says Urban. “The age group was from the mid-20s to some guests in their 80s.”

Urban feels last year’s festival also made an impact on the younger age group.

“We’ve been seeing a younger group coming to art openings and engaging with the programs more,” Urban says. “We will be having an art opening the night before, so there will be a new exhibit going on during the festival.”

In the event of rain, the festival will move indoors to the galleries and classrooms. Profits from admission and beer sales support Staunton Augusta Art Center’s exhibits and programs.

“The businesses in the area have been so supportive,” says Urban. “It’s really amazing to see how an event in Staunton turns into a community effort.”

IF YOU GO!

What 2nd annual Craft Beer and Craft Festival

When 1-6 p.m. Sept. 26 (rain or shine)

Artists along Barristers Row:

Live music at the Smith Center Memorial Garden:

1:15 p.m. — 23 Skiddoo

2:15 p.m. — Wanted Dead or Alive, No Reward Offered

3:15 p.m. — Nathan Moore

4:15 p.m. — Bourbon Barrel Congress

5:15 p.m. — The Mad Anthonys

Where Barristers Row and the Smith Center Memorial Garden, 20 S. New St., Staunton

Cost $10 admission includes 1st beer, $4 per additional beer

More info 885-2028, info@saartcenter.org