You’ve got to have a ticket before it’s time to tap the keg.
Organizers have seen a big demand for the 17th annual Okanagan Fest of Ale tickets since March 1, when hops and barley enthusiasts were able to buy tickets for Penticton’s beer festival slated for April 13 and 14.
“Ticket sales are going very well. We’ve been very fortunate in the last six years we’ve sold out. We’re anticipating another sellout crowd, which is great, because all the proceeds go to the charities,” said Wayne Schmuck, the festival’s marketing chair.
Fest of Ale organizers cap the level of tickets that can be sold to 6,500, and Schmuck said they made a conscious decision to limit the number of people who can attend to ensure everyone can savour the food and drink experience.
“We used to do more tickets, but we found from customer feedback that it was getting too busy and the lineups were getting too long,” he said. “We want everyone to get their money’s worth and have a good time.”
Schmuck added that, in particular, registrants are choosing to pick up the admission ticket and hotel packages, which include the festivities and lodging for $68 per person.
“That’s where we see some positive numbers,” he said, noting many participants want to play it safe given tighter impaired driving regulations. “It’s a slow time of the year for the hotels, so they’ve jumped on board as great sponsors. In my opinion they’re giving stuff away.”
What has made Fest of Ale so popular in years past will also return: 26 breweries will attend and bring at least three flavours for sampling. Fourteen local restaurants are coming, and will serve up two or three items each.
With that much to co-ordinate, Schmuck said they are hoping between 20 and 30 more people are able to volunteer: everything from token sellers, admission ticket distributors, greeters, brewer assistants as well as hands for setup and take-down.
“We call them the Brew Crew,” he chuckles. “It’s great to have the loyal volunteers. Without them for all these events, you just couldn’t make it happen. It’s really nice to see the volunteers coming to help this community.”
Tickets are only available in advance, and can be purchased in person at the Day’s Inn in Penticton at 152 Riverside Dr.; by calling 250-493-3200 or 1-800-663-1900; or online at www.fest-of-ale.bc.ca. The price is $20 plus facility, handling fees and HST. Patrons must be 19 years or older to purchase tickets, and refunds or exchanges are not available.
Anyone looking to volunteer can visit the society’s website or pick up an application form at the Sandman Inn, 939 Burnaby Ave.