Postponed Tallahassee Beer Festival looks to reschedule in November
Last week, the 3rd Annual Tallahassee Beer Festival — scheduled for Aug. 28 — was postponed due to widespread concerns about the uptick in coronavirus cases throughout Leon County and surrounding areas.
The event, Tallahassee's only craft beer festival, serves as a massive annual fundraiser for the United Partners For Human Services — an organization with 170 local charities in its network — had been sold out for over a month. It was a sign that everyone was ready to get out and raise a glass after what's been a long, tough, trying 18 months of NOT gathering due to the pandemic.
'Difficult decision':Nonprofit postpones Tallahassee Beer Fest amid surging COVID cases
Enter the Delta variant, which began sweeping through North Florida around the third week in July, forcing local hospitals to reopen their previously dormant coronavirus response units and causing the positivity rate to soar, especially among those unvaccinated, and — everyone's worst fear — children.
As a result, the organizers, led by festival founder Ben Graybar, decided to postpone the event.
This was, in our opinion, the right call.
Beer fests really have two goals: Everyone has a good time, and everyone stays safe. And because they could only control one of those two things, there was really no way to go forward. The last thing anyone wanted was for an event that raised nearly $40,000 in Year 2 back in January 2020 to turn into a super-spreader.
Come for craft and camaraderie —and leave with corona? No thanks.
But there is light at the end of this tunnel.
On Tuesday evening this week, the TLH Beer Festival posted on social media that they had set a make-up date: Sunday, Nov. 7. They added that the venue would be the same (the Tucker Civic Center), but the day of the week was changing, as was the lineup of breweries participating.
Even in the lead-up to the original date, a few breweries that had previously committed bowed out, and the organizers expected — even with a make-up date set — there may be others; whether because they didn't feel safe attending, or because the new date conflicted with something they already had going on..
At its peak in early August, the festival was expecting over 80 brewers and home brewers from around the state. According to Ben, the goal is now to have that number around 60. And an email was sent out Wednesday to ALL those who had previously sent in their participation forms to see A) How they felt about the new date and B) If they still wanted to be involved.
The response, as of the writing of this column, was still TBD. We'll update where things stand in our next column in two weeks.
As for those ticket holders who are unsure what to do? Well, you have two options: You can either go to the Civic Center box office and get a full refund (including all box office fees), or you can hold onto your tickets in hopes the event happens Nov. 7 AND it's safe enough to hold.
If a decision is made closer to Nov. 7 to postpone the festival once again, anyone with tickets can still get a refund and then decide whether to attend when the event sets a new date in 2022.
We applaud UPHS and Ben for making this tough, but correct call. And we will be there every step of the way to support their decisions and get you information about the plans going forward.
Brews by the Bay Beer Festival in Wakulla postponed
Just a few days after the Tallahassee Beer Festival was postponed, another festival on the fall schedule was as well.
The 3rd Annual Brews By The Bay, which is Wakulla County's only craft beer festival that was set for Oct. 9 in Panacea, chose to make the same call.
And while the make-up date has not been officially announced yet, we're told by sources close to the situation that they are now targeting February 2022 to resume. Brews By The Bay is an annual fundraiser for the Florida Wild Mammal Association, and it has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the organization in its first two years.
Here's what they posted on social media in announcing their decision:
"It is with a heavy heart that we announce our decision to postpone the 3rd Annual Brews by the Bay craft beer festival, originally to be held at Woolley Park on Saturday, October 9, 2021. It was a tough call to make, Brews by the Bay is an incredibly important event for our organization and the wildlife we rescue and rehabilitate. Celebrating local craft beer with each and every one of you has become a cherished annual tradition. However, we need to prioritize the health and safety of our attendees, volunteers, and ultimately our community."
We love this event in the wonderful, open-air outdoor space at Woolley Park in Panacea. And we hope things in our world look a lot better by next year so they can continue.
It's not all doom and gloom this week: New beer hats are in
We are not gonna leave off this week with a double dose of bad news. Instead, we want to end by telling you about the next piece of "Drink Tallahassee Beer" swag that's coming soon: Garnet & Gold, unisex, snap-back hats — just in time for football season.
If you remember, the Drink Tallahassee Beer shirts and hoodies were a HUGE hit earlier this year as we sold over 550 total items and helped raise $5,500 for local grief counseling nonprofit Lee's Place.
The plan was to debut these hats AT the Tallahassee Beer Festival this weekend, but that obviously isn't going to happen. Instead, we will be selling them online starting next week with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the very organization we were set to gather and support: the UPHS.
The hats will retail for $20 each, and details on how to purchase them will be revealed on our social media pages over the weekend. So make sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter for more details.
Notice we didn't say Facebook? Well, we're currently in a knock-down, drag out with Zuckerberg's Army over their decision to suspend our page 3 weeks ago for reposting that viral video of the dancing horse during the 2021 Summer Olympics.Anyway, more on that to come as we sort this mess out. And in the meantime, if anyone out there knows someone who works at Facebook who can help us get past the pile of bots and canned answers we keep receiving daily, we'd love to talk to you!
Until next time, cheers to better days ahead, Tallahassee!
Danny Aller is the co-founder, along with Matthew Crumbaker, of the TLH Beer Society. Reach the Beer Society on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.