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60 different craft beers coming to Ottawa festival

Party set for Memorial Day weekend

A showcase for craft beer and its brewers, small-scale and large, will be featured at the Starved Rock County Brew Fest in downtown Ottawa.

The party is set noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 26, within the Memorial Day weekend.

Announcing the festival Friday, Mayor Bob Eschbach said, “It was such a great and successful first year event last year and this upcoming festival will be even better.”

The Brew Fest will be located near the Illinois River waterfront, 201 Albin Stevens Drive, under the Veterans Memorial Bridge rain or shine.

“With the craft beer brewing industry growing rapidly in Ottawa and Starved Rock Country, it makes a lot of sense to hold an event which gives so many craft beer lovers the opportunity to taste and enjoy great beer in a single location — all while enjoying good food, live music and fun activities in a very pleasant downtown setting,” Eschbach said.

The event is being organized and promoted by Lou Dog Events, a consulting firm based out of Naperville that specializes in planning craft beer festivals.

Lou Dog Founder and President Josh Seago said this year’s festival will feature 60 different craft beers from upwards to 30 micro-breweries from the immediate Central Illinois region, the Chicago area and other manufacturers from as far away as California, New York and Colorado.

“This event is all about the experience for guests to interact with brewers while enjoying various brews, food and fellowship,” Seago said.

He agreed with Eschbach the local event is growing to be a “world class festival.”

One of the major sponsoring partners for the Brew Fest is the Tangled Roots Brewing Company.

Scott Struchen, Tangled Roots chief commercial officer, said his company will offer a wide range of its locally-brewed products. He added an after party will be held following the day event at the brewery’s flagship restaurant, The Lone Buffalo, 810 La Salle St.

Curt Bedei, the executive director of the Ottawa Visitors Center, said the brew fest is being marketed to the Chicago metropolitan area and beyond through social media. The thought by organizers is the event will be an added attraction to people planning a visit to Starved Rock State Park during the start of Memorial Day weekend.

“This wonderful event, like others, brings tourists — new people — into town,” Bedei said.

Eschbach again agreed.

“We here at the City Hall consider events like the Brew Fest to be part of our long-range economical development plans. Such public parties introduce people to our area which always helps in our future growth.”

Brew Fest tickets and more information are available online at starvedrockcountrybrewfest.com. Current prices are $30 until Friday, April 27, when they go up to $35. Tickets, if available, will be $40 at the gate the day of the festival.

Local people wishing to volunteer their time at festival to work with brewers may sign up on the same website.

Seago said last year 1,000 people attended the event with indications this May’s event will attract even more craft beer enthusiasts.

“Tickets are selling fast,” Seago said.

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