Saturday, June 25, 2016 – 1:00 to 4:00 PM
Whistle Stop Plaza
Main Street, Ephrata, PA
After much anticipation, the Ephrata Brewfest is finally upon us! The first ever Ephrata Brewfest will take place on Saturday, June 25, 2016 at the Whistle Stop Plaza on Main Street in Ephrata, PA.
“We have been dying to do this for many, many years,” said event organizer Joy Ashley, “and finally the right motions came together.”
“We really want to bring the outside community into downtown Ephrata and see all that Ephrata has to offer,” said Ashley. “We’re almost like the best kept secret… There’s so much happening in Ephrata that people don’t realize.”
Gates will open at 12:30 PM, and beer will be poured from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Before pouring begins, attendees can enjoy live music, eat some delicious food, and check out the vendors. With gates opening a half hour early, this will alleviate any long lines.
“We’re Pennsylvania Dutch… [beer] is our tradition, our culture, so it’s a really good fit,” said Ashley.
What’s special about the Ephrata Brewfest is that it will feature local breweries. The breweries that will be pouring at the fest are all located within an hour drive of Ephrata, with most from Lancaster County.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to people that still haven’t been to [St. Boniface Craft Brewery]… if you have a place that’s got beer like St. Boniface does or Black Forest, there’s no excuse,” said event organizer Patrick Reed. “Come on, you need to try it! You might surprise yourself.”
The following breweries will be featured at the event: Wacker Brewing Company, St. Boniface Craft Brewing Company, Union Barrel Works, Black Forest Brewery, Lancaster Brewing Company, Cox Brewing Company, Moo-Duck Brewery, Stoudts Brewing Company, Battlefield Brew Works, Mad Chef Craft Brewing, Howling Henry’s Brewing, LLC, and Renewal Kombucha.
Each brewery will bring at least two beers to the fest, providing attendees with at least 24 beers to choose from. More breweries are expected to be added to the lineup.
Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite, or in person at the Ephrata Public Library, Ephrata Recreation Center, or Black Forest Brewery. Advanced tickets cost $30 and Designated Driver tickets cost $10. Tickets will be $40 at the gate.
At the time of this article, more than half of the 500 tickets for the fest have been sold.
Ticket holders will receive a 5.5 ounce plastic tasting mug with the Ephrata Brewfest logo, as well as the logo of the main sponsor, Weis Markets. A program will be inside of the mug, which will include a list of all the breweries, as well as important information about the fest.
Designated Drivers will be treated well at the fest with their own special tent with many complimentary items, including free water.
A special limited edition Ephrata Brewfest T-shirt will be for sale at the fest. Only 70-80 shirts will be available, so don’t miss out on this special keepsake. Be sure to also check out merchandise from Hop Hedz Gear and Beer Busters.
Ticket holders can benefit from special discounts for area businesses throughout the day of the event by showing their event bracelet. The Historic Smithton Inn is offering 10% for a minimum 2-night stay. Hometown Refurnishing is offering 15% off. Park Hill Jewelry and Scratch Bakes are also offering discounts for brewfest attendees.
“Whether it’s buying the beer or visiting the downtown vendors… [the brewfest] makes sense for Ephrata,” said Reed.
Food vendors include The Hill, authentic Greek food from Souvlaki Boys, Mara-Leo’s Italian Food Truck, a wide variety of options from Bountiful Feast Roving Restaurant, and cupcakes from Scratch Bakes. Mark DeRosa and The Dreadnought Brigade will play acoustic rock tunes, while Danny Frederick will play classic and modern rock covers with some pop thrown in.
There will be plenty of parking the day of the event. Attendants will guide visitors to parking areas. The parking garage behind the theater is a great option, or try one of the side streets.
As you may know, the 2015 Ephrata Brewfest, originally scheduled for October was postponed. Due to liquor laws, Downtown Ephrata, Inc. had to cancel.
“They really wanted to get the event off the ground, but were unable to do so,” explained Ashley. “It just wasn’t coming together.”
The Ephrata Public Library and Ephrata Rec Center were brought on board, not only bringing more experience with event planning and organization, but also securing the necessary license.
“The game changer that I noticed is that the library and the rec center really have some organizational skills to bring to the table because they do many events,” Reed explained. “We have a ton of people at our disposal… Each one of us brings something different to the puzzle.”
The Ephrata Brewfest is sponsored by these generous sponsors: Weis Markets, Members 1st Federal Credit Union, Nicholas Ermolovich, Esq., Douple Insurance Agency, and Lancaster Craft Brew Tours. The event benefits the Ephrata Public Library, Downtown Ephrata, Inc. and the Ephrata Rec Center.
The library will use the money raised for continuing programs and services including outreach service, satellite libraries, children’s programs, and instructional programs. The Ephrata Rec Center will use the funding for family programs, summer camps, as well as infrastructure improvements.
Supporting local causes, bringing awareness to a vibrant downtown, and drinking delicious, locally-made beer are definitely strong reasons to buy a ticket to the Ephrata Brewfest.
“Our hope and goal is that people will realize that it’s a great event. It benefits downtown and the businesses, as well as the nonprofits that are organizing it… bringing people down to where the core of Ephrata’s businesses are located,” said Reed.
“If people don’t have a good time, they’re not going to come back,” said Ashley. “We really want people to have a good time… so that they come back next year.”