Organizers expect Brewfest 2 to draw hundreds to Old Town

September 6, 2018

POCATELLO — Hoping to build off the success of their annual Gate City Brewfest, Old Town Pocatello Inc. and the Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce are hosting a new celebration of suds this Saturday to raise funds and draw visitors downtown.

The 200, 300 and 400 blocks of Main Street will be closed for Brewfest 2, scheduled from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Beer trucks will park in the middle of Main Street to serve more than 40 beers from 22 breweries.

Breweries from throughout the country — including major brands such as Sam Adams — will be represented, along with the community’s local breweries, Portneuf Valley Brewing and Jim Dandy Brewing. Food will also be offered from local restaurants and food trucks, such as The Melt and Mighty Dawgs. A local band, Happy Havoc, will perform, and participants will have the opportunity to play the popular bean bag tossing game Cornhole.

Organizers have set a goal of attracting about 500 participants, but Stephanie Palagi, executive director of Old Town Pocatello, is optimistic the crowd for the inaugural event could be as large as 750. Admission is $25 in advance, via gatecitybrewfest.com, and $30 at the door, with sales beginning at 3 p.m.

“I really honestly in my heart believe this event could be six or seven blocks next year if we capture the support of the community,” Palagi said. “We can continue doing events like this if people come and support them.”

Palagi said some of the area’s bar and restaurant owners suggested adding another brewing festival, hoping to replicate the business boost they’ve received during what would otherwise be a slow afternoon on the second Saturday of March, when Gate City Brewfest is hosted.

“One of the operating philosophies at Old Town Pocatello, Inc., has always been the more often we bring folks downtown, the more often they’ll come back, and each time they visit they’ll spend a little more money,” Palagi said.

Matt Hunter, president and CEO of the Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce, said Brewfest 2 will also feature a table for wine, for participants who buy additional wine tickets.

Hunter said the event will benefit from the return of college students to the Idaho State University campus. He also believes participants will like the traditional street festival format.

Rather than offering all of the festivities in one location, Gate City Brewfest, which will be hosted for the ninth time next March, provides participants beers from different breweries at bars and restaurants throughout Old Town. Hunter said the first Gate City Brewfest drew about 500 participants and generated $6,000 in net revenue. The most recent event netted $30,000 and attracted about 1,800 participants, Hunter said.

Hunter believes beer festivals are a “growing trend.”

“I was not surprised at all that our Brewfest has done well,” Hunter said. “I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see this one grow over the years, either.”

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