05262010blues.jpgKick off your shoes and take in the blues as you sample the brews of more than 15 of the finest breweries from across the Mid-Atlantic region during the Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s 7th Annual Blues ‘n’ Brews Festival on Saturday, June 5, from 5-10 p.m. in downtown Fayetteville’s Festival Park.

The yearly event is the main fundraiser for the Cape Fear Regional Theatre (CFRT), and proceeds help the theatre meet operational costs and bring in great artists.

“This is our third year at Festival Park,” said Cassandra Vallery, event planner for CFRT. “It grows by leaps and bounds each year.”

Prior to its Festival Park venue, Blues ‘n’ Brews took place at Campbellton Landing on the banks of the Cape Fear River.

“It’s a type of event that happens in other places,” said Bo Thorp, artistic director of CFRT. “We had a contact with the Brewers Association, and they hooked us up with the brewers. People come for a good time and music, but they come primarily for the beer. They have an opportunity to try specialty and boutique beers.”

Some of those brews include lagers and fruit-flavored beers, noted Vallery.

“We also have food and vendors. People discover new beers and listen to great music. It’s a very upbeat event,” Vallery said.

Some of the breweries that will offer samplings of their beers include Mother Earth, Duck Rabbit, Front Street, Sierra Nevada, Terrapin, Carolina Brewery and Fayetteville’s own Huske Hardware and The Mash House. Additionally, Fayetteville distributors Harris Wholesale and Healy Wholesale and Tyron Distributors and Empire Distributors out of Charlotte will represent other independent beers.

Of course, good weather plays an important role in any outdoor festival, and Thorp is hoping for a repeat of last year’s sunny skies and mild temperatures.

“Last year we had close to 3,000 people. We can tell by the number of glasses we sell. We ran out of glasses and had to go and get plastic cups! The weather was terrific.”

As the crowd mingles and samples, three bands will perform in rotation on the stage.

“The bands will play from 4 to 10 p.m.” Thorp said. “So far we’ve got the Donna Duncan Band, an award-winning blues band from Charlotte, and a local band, the Dirty Water Band, who play the blues and an assortment of music.”

In addition to the blues and the brews, the event features games and contests with prizes, as well as young talent from the theatre.

General admission for the festival is $25, which offers a souvenir beer glass and beer sampling from. For $35, brew afficionados receive premier parking, a VIP glass and access to a private tent area, as well as a private pour with the brewers beginning at 4 p.m., a picnic lunch and snacks. VIP tickets are limited in number. Nondrinkers or designated drivers may purchase a ticket for $15, and members of the military receive a $2 discount. No dogs, tents or outside food or drinks are allowed, and festival attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets.

“It’s very laidback fun for the entire family,” said Vallery.

For more information or to volunteer, call the theatre at (910) 323-4234.

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