Last year was the inaugural year for the Indiana-Michigan Craft Beer Mayfest in Mishawaka. The event is now known as Mayfest.US and the location has changed to the beautiful Kamm Island Park, which is located along the St. Joseph River, in the heart of downtown Mishawaka. This is a very fitting location for a beer fest since the park is part of what was once the historic Kamm-Schellinger Brewery.
More than 40 breweries from both Indiana and Michigan are expected to pour at the May 7 beer fest. Participants will be able to choose beer samples from more than 150 different styles of ales and lagers from breweries such as Three Floyds, Iechyd Da, Bare Hands, 18th Street, Goshen Brewing, Dark Horse and Greenbush. Food from local restaurants and live music from the Whistle Pigs will add to the festivities.
“Mayfest was a well organized and terrific event for the Michigan area to enjoy the best brews this region has to offer!” said Eric Foust of Bare Hands Brewery.
Many craft beer fests have booths that are staffed by volunteers who are not knowledgeable about the brewery or even craft beer. I don’t believe that this is what craft beer enthusiasts are looking for. At Mayfest.US, the breweries are represented by their brewers, owners and trained staff.
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“We believe this gives fest attendees a more intimate and educational opportunity,” stated Jim Herter, the co-director of Mayfest.US. “Many fests are now being held by private entities on a for-profit basis causing breweries to rethink their participation.”
In contrast to some festivals, Mayfest.US supports local charities in the region and advocates the advancement and advocacy of craft breweries.
“What better way to support both objectives,” said Glenn Padmos, the co-chair of Mayfest.US. “This year, Mayfest.US has chosen the Mishawaka Food Pantry and Hospice at Home as the regional charities to benefit from the festival proceeds. We were able to donate over $10,000 to our charities last year. The charitable donation amount will increase with our move to the spacious and scenic Kamm Island.”
Mayfest was the first brew fest for Goshen Brewing Co., taking place just weeks before they officially opened. Owner/brewer Jesse Sensenig told me, “It was a great experience, especially having been the inaugural year. It sounds like a new location will attract and grow this year’s event, and we are looking to kick off our spring and summer events with this event!”
Tickets went on sale Jan. 23 and have been reduced in price for 2016. The early entry ticket is $50 and allows a limited number of attendees entry an hour earlier than the general admission ticket, which is $40. The discounted price is only good until April 7. On April 8, ticket prices will increase to $50 for general admission and $60 for early entry. The fest runs from 2 to 7 p.m.
An additional feature this year is the VIP tent. “This area features private seating, private restrooms, a wine, hard cider and mead sampling bar along with food prepared by local chefs,” said Herter. “It also affords the opportunity for guests who may not appreciate craft beer to join in and support our charities.” For more details and to purchase VIP discounted packages, call 574-635-1039.
Sponsorship packages are available which offer great marketing and goodwill opportunities. This year’s event has partnered with ABC57, Federated Media/103.9 The Bear, Burkhart Outdoor Advertising and Lithotone Print Advertising to offer exposure. If your organization is interested in sponsorship, visit the sponsorship page of the event website.
Again, Mayfest.US will be working with local taxi companies and public transportation to provide free rides for attendees to help ensure patron and community safety. There are plenty of hotels nearby, which will make a perfect weekend escape. For more details, or to order tickets, visit the event webpage or Facebook page.