Okanagan Fest-of-Ale still hopping after 20 years

With a fresh new logo the Okanagan Fest of Ale is ready to head into its 20th year in Penticton.

Fest-of-Ale director

Fest-of-Ale director

With a fresh new logo the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is ready to head into its 20th year in Penticton.

The beer-focused festival unveiled the winner of their logo contest on Tuesday at the Bad Tattoo Brewery.

Oliver-based carpenter Mike Szalay had his logo chosen from 50 entries in the logo contest held this fall to help usher the Fest-of-Ale into a new era.

“I’m very into the event, I’ve been to it before, so I was excited to have some of my art displayed for something I’m enthusiastic about,” Szalay said.

The festival takes place April 10-11 at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre featuring over 40 breweries and cideries, both local and from around the Pacific Northwest.

Familiar local breweries will be returning to the festival joining some new craft breweries heading to the Fest-of-Ale for the first time.

“We’re trying to re-energize and keep this festival fresh and current for everybody,” Martin Lewis, Fest-of-Ale director, said.

Lewis added that the festival has eight new breweries over last year’s event, setting a new record for the Fest-of-Ale.

“That’s just indicative of how many breweries we now have in the province. The province has over 70 working craft breweries, so that’s fantastic,” Lewis said.

“It has changed a ton in the last 20 years as it pertains to the customer. They used to come to the booth and say ‘whatever’s strongest, give me lots.’ Now they ask you really intelligent questions. They want to know about IBUs and SRM,” Lewis said.

This years festival will also feature a new outdoor component and the festival board is working with the City of Penticton on the details for an outdoor stage, brewers and food trucks.

“We actually have requests from breweries saying ‘can I please be one of the breweries that gets to pour outside.’ I guess they come from a place where it rains every day, so they want to come to a place where they can be outside,” Lewis said.

Also new this year will be the food and beer pairing stations, as well as expanding judging on beers at the event including five judges and nine categories.

It was also announced that the Penticton Hospitality Association is partnering with the Fest-of-Ale Society this year providing marketing funding and support for the festival.

Fest-of-Ale is a wonderful example of how home-grown events can benefit the community as a whole. We should all be very proud of their efforts and what they have gifted back to the community,” Rob Appelman, president of the Hospitality Associaton, said.

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit was on hand at the press conference to welcome the new logo and cheers to 20 years of the festival.

“For me what’s really special is that this is a home-grown festival and a home-grown event 20 years in the making and that’s what we’re here to celebrate. It’s turning itself into one of the signature events in our community,” Jakubeit said.

In the festival’s 20-year history the Fest-of-Ale Society has put over $500,000 worth of proceeds back into the community through organizations including the  B.C. SPCA and the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club.

Tickets are now available in person at the Days Inn Penticton, at local breweries, the SOEC box office, Penticton and Wine Country Visitors Centre and online through www.valleyfirsttix.com.

For more information or to apply as a volunteer visit www.fest-of-ale.bc.ca.