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2018 Brewfest!

August 7, 2018

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

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It's almost here! Brewfest 2018 will take place on Saturday, August 11th in Soper Park. I sat down with Deb Hite, Emmetsburg Chamber Director and Darrick Young, Chamber President and Emmetsburg Economic Developer to talk beer, regional tourism and what's next for our downtown district.



Kelly Bay: I just want to tell you impressed I am with Brewfest, we actually have friends who are planning their vacation around the event. What's new this year and what are you most excited about?


Deb Hite: That's wonderful news and we've actually heard that from a few different people. I'm really excited and driven by last year's turnout. Once we moved the event to August and changed the location to Soper Park it really took off. We're welcoming a new band this year. We've also have nine entries for the home brew People's Choice award.


Darrick Young: The number of entries in the Home Brew category has doubled every year, which has been amazing to see. We also have craft bee tastings available from four Iowa Breweries including West O, Lake Time, Exile and Single Speed, as well as August Schells out of New Ulm, MN.


KB: Tell me about the performers this year, The Avey/Grouws Band. I noticed on the event page they are last year's Iowa Blues Challenge winners, what can we expect from them?


DH: The last two years we've had TV and the Bellard Yellers and have such a strong connection with Dan O'Leary and his band since he graduated from Emmetsburg and his parents live and work here. Dan and his wife are expecting a new baby this month so the scheduling didn't work out. We're thrilled for his family and excited for the opportunity to welcome a new band. Avey/Grous plays a mix of blues, country and classic rock.


DY: They are out of Decorah, Iowa too which is great, it keeps with our focus on Iowa talent.


KB: The Chamber continues to add more events to the schedule every year. Is regional and event tourism a big focus for your organization?


DH: Well, tourism has always been part of our mission, especially since we are partnered with the Iowa Welcome Center. Darrick and I recently returned from a conference featuring Roger Brooks, of the Destination Development Association. We're all fired up about moving Emmetsburg towards destination tourism, creating events and spaces that make people want to get out and see what our community is all about.


DY: One of the things we really want to focus on is getting people out enjoying our community after 6 pm. Brooks points out that 70% of brick and mortar purchases happen after 6:00, which is about the time we close up for retail. Staying open later is something the retail association has tried in the past and it never seemed to work. At the last conference we learned that it takes six months before people even take notice of the later hours and up to a year before they start making purchases during that time. So it can be frustrating for business owners but it's really something that we feel we need to commit to. We're exploring ways to get people out on those evenings to help promote the downtown district.


KB: What else is happening in the Chamber that our readers should know about?


DH: We have the Farmer-Business Appreciation picnic on August 30th. It's a thank you to everyone involved in ag business that keep our economy going. It's also hard to believe, but fall and winter will be coming soon so we're looking at Small Business Saturday and Home for the Holidays. Different ways that we can help those events grow and evolve.


KB: As a business owner, I just want to say thank you. I've love hearing the vision and mission you both have for our community. The growth has been incredible and I so appreciate your work.


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Cheers Friends! We hope to see all of you out on Saturday at Soper Park. We'll leave you with a few photos from last year's Brewfest to get the excitement going!




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