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CHEERS!

August 2, 2018

EOMINSTER -- The Johnny Appleseed Craft Beer Festival isn’t your typical beer festival.

“I don’t think people realize how fun it is,” said Greg Chapdelaine, Leominster’s purchasing agent and an organizer for the event. “Some people who have never come might think it’s just a beer thing ... then they get here and think it’s a really a good time.

“It’s not just sitting around sampling beer. It’s a different type of atmosphere,” he added.

The Johnny Appleseed Craft Beer Festival is celebrating its fourth year this Saturday, from 3 to 7 p.m., on Leominster Common and along West Street. A ticket gets you admittance to the festival, which includes unlimited 2-ounce beer-tasting, a commemorative 4-ounce tasting glass and live music.

Tickets are $30 until Friday night on Eventbrite; links to purchase tickets are available at johnnyappleseedbeerfest.com and the festival’s Facebook page. The cost is $35 at the door and online Saturday. You must be 21 or older with a valid ID.

The festival will feature 45 brewers, including such local names as Wachusett Brewing Company, Blue Moon Brewing, Narragansett Brewing Co., and other classics like Samuel Adams and Shipyard Brewing Co.

“It’s mostly craft beer, but there are some cider products,” Chapdelaine said. “We’ll have alcohol cider, which is loosely related to craft beer, seltzer products, and we might have one other malt beverage pouring.”

The brewers will be set up in two large tents at a parking lot abutting West Street. The rest of West Street, down to the common, will be closed off for lawn games, picnic tables, cocktail tables and food vendors, with a stage for music.

The live bands this year will be indie-pop band Nemes, blues by Chris Fitz Band and the rock’n’ rolling Ben Cote Band.

“We are very proud of the music and tend to get people that play a variety,” Chapdelaine said. “We’re really happy with the music we’ve had over the years, and it’s going to continue again this year.”

And don’t forget to bring your appetite to the festival. Comeketo Restaurant, Papa John’s Pizza, Uncle E’s BBQ Express and Dogs of Thunder will line West Street with various types of food.

“It’s not crowded, but there are a lot of people,” Chapdelaine said. “There’s a lot of activity within that first hour with people who are dying to get to the beers they want to try, then after that first hour, it settles out.”

Despite what the forecast may say, he advised anyone attending not to be afraid of a little rain.

“All the breweries are under tents so should we get a little downpour, just cool your heels under the tents with some more beer,” he said.

“People seem to all have smiles on their faces,” he added. “Some come with their friends, and some make new ones. It’s not a thing where people come in, sample beers and leave. It’s an enjoyable, relaxing time outside.”

For more information, see johnnyappleseedbeerfest.com .

Email juliasarcinelli@outlook.com if you have any upcoming events you would like to be featured in Best Bets.

Gardner Festival and Sidewalk Sale

Gardner will host its 79th annual Experience Gardner Festival and Sidewalk Sale on Friday and Saturday in the downtown area. Friday’s hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Along with different vendors, there will be a Celebrating the Heroes Among Us and Superheroes Parade, music and steamroller printing.

Puppets

The Drawbridge Puppet Theater will feature “Little Red Riding Hood” every weekend in August. The classic fairytale features string and shadow puppets, and is appropriate for ages 3 and up. Show times are Saturdays and Sundays at noon through August. Tickets are $7 per seat, and reservations are recommended. For more information or to make reservations, visit www.drawbridgepuppets.com .

Brew Barn

The Brew Barn will feature live music from The Definite Maybes on Saturday, from 3 to 6 p.m. The Brew Barn is a creation by Moon Hill Brewing and Red Apple Farm as a summer spot for food, beer and music. There are 40 picnic tables scattered throughout the farm, and you can bring your own lawn chair or blanket. Admission is free.

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