They’re coming here for the craft beer. And the artisan food. And the great music. And the camaraderie. The list goes on.
The Cowichan Craft Beer & Food Festival in Chemainus established itself as one of the premier events of its kind prior to COVID. Now it’s time to pick up where it left off three years ago and rejuvenate the good thing it had going.
“Chemainus has always been a welcoming and relaxing place to visit with friends and family known for our wonderful community events,” noted Chris Istace, the Chemainus Business Improvement Association chair. “We feel fortunate after such a long hiatus of large community events to once again be able to host the Cowichan Beerfest and welcome people back to the friendly atmosphere of Chemainus.”
Tickets for the event at the Chemainus Ball Park’s Larry Irving Field are becoming scarcer, particularly with the big day on Saturday, Aug. 13 now approaching so rapidly.
The team of event coordinator Michelle Williams, CBIA and festival executive director Krystal Adams and CBIA project coordinator MacKenna Posey has been busy putting the finishing touches on all the details.
“It’s a great team,” said Williams. “We play off each other well. We’re ready for the festival. We’re right there at the finish line.”
Williams just moved to Maple Bay permanently in November from Delta.
“I took four months to choose the right path for me and it ended up being this job,” she indicated.
“I started this job in March. That’s how long we’ve been planning this festival. The time has flown by, but it’s been good.”
Williams’ background is in shipping and logistics in the steel industry for 10 years, but she also has a certificate in events and marketing management from BCIT.
“It’s been a lot of fun this year, making a lot of great contacts with the vendors and there’s great anticipation as well,” she said. “I think everybody’s excited to get back.”
There are 31 craft beer and 14 food vendors confirmed.
“We have some non-alcoholic options,” Williams added.
Some of the food options will include: bannock, pizza, sliders, salads and desserts for washing down with a wide variety of brews.
Limited tickets are still available. General tickets are $27.99 plus taxes and service fee that includes entry, a keepsake tasting glass, five tasting tokens, tasting guide and a chance to win a $250 door prize. Extra tokens can also be purchased.
VIP tickets are good from noon-5 p.m., with opening an hour earlier than general tickets from 1-5 p.m.
There is no vehicle parking at the site. Free parking is available around town and a shuttle service will take people to the grounds.
Williams said it’s important for people with tickets to book a shuttle. It’s free within Chemainus, but there is a charge for those requesting a pick-up and return drop-off from locations around Duncan, Crofton/Maple Bay, Ladysmith/Saltair and Nanaimo.
“It’s different than previous years,” summed up Williams. “There’s a lot more things to consider. The logistics, we have to put more thought into the safety.”
It’s also expected to be warm so she advises people to take some necessary steps in dealing with the conditions.
“Bring an empty water bottle, fill it on site,” Williams said. “Bring a sunscreen and a hat. Dress appropriately. That’s really important.”
Additional funds after costs from the festival will be donated to local not for-profits and charity organizations.