Tickets are still available for craft beer connoisseurs wanting to sample some of the finest brews in Central Florida. The 5th Annual Windermere Craft Beer Fest starts at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, along Main Street in downtown Windermere.
The first festival, organized by a group of craft beer-loving friends in 2014, was attended by 160 people; this year, the event is expected to sell out.
Organizer Chris Sapp said brewers were close to running out of beer because the crowd was so large, so ticket sales will be capped at 620. He is encouraging folks who want to attend to pre-order their tickets at WindermereCraftBeerFest.com.
Tickets are $30 in advance and, if available, $35 at the gate.
The annual nonprofit festival, which benefits three groups: the Windermere Police Foundation, Florida Brewers Guild and the town of Windermere’s business district.
This year, 28 brewers, all from Florida, will set up stations. Most are from the Central Florida market, Sapp said, but a few are coming from Sarasota, south Florida and Jacksonville.
Each will bring two to four different craft beers, so guests will have more than 100 to taste.
This festival is popular, Sapp said, because “it’s different than any of the other beer fests. A lot of the other beer fests, they end up being in warehouses or fields or parking lots. You get a great Windermere feel. It’s right on the street, with the tree canopy. It just has a different feel than others. … I think we attract more beer lovers … who really taste the beer and ask questions.”
And because there are no distributors involved, attendees can talk to someone who has a direct connection to the brewery.
Tommy’s Boats is a major sponsor and will have several boats on display. Other booths will be set up by food vendors Gators Dockside, Ellie Lou’s Brews & BBQ, Dixie Cream Cafe and Tipsy Cookie, which uses beer as one of its ingredients; as well as the festival beneficiaries.
Winter Garden singer/songwriter Layla Brisbois is the featured entertainment for the evening.
Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.