by Andru McCracken

Close to 700 ticket holders attended the Beer Festival this year. / LAURA KEIL

The founder of the Valemount Craft Beer Experience is pleased with how the Sacrifice Red Support Society pulled off its second annual event.

“Every aspect was great,” said Michael Lewis, who started the festival last year. “5 Alarm Funk rocked the house; the beers were phenomenal.”

Lewis said because the weather was so great, most revellers stayed right to the end, causing a long wait for busses. He said next year they’ll accomodate for that possibility by having more busses on call. He said having multiple stops in town delayed the frequency of busses at the end of the night.

“There was almost double the attendance,” said Lewis. “97% of people who had tickets attended.”

Last year only 500 tickets were available – this year that increased to 700. There were also more breweries and food trucks on site.

Lewis said in the first year more attendees went ‘overboard’ during celebrations.

“This year people were really responsible,” he said.

Lewis said he is highly conscious of the number of volunteers needed to pull off the event and how much their contributions made the event a success. He said he hopes the organization will make the event even more fun and rewarding for them next year.

When asked if the size of the festival would increase next year, Lewis deferred to the organizing committee, which is holding a follow-up meeting soon.

Details on fundraising amounts were not available by presstime. Last year the festival raised close to $25,000: half of that going to Communities for Veterans, and the other half was split between the Valemount Legion Branch #266 and the Valemount Arts and Cultural Society. This year 10% will go to support children in the community.

Notably absent from the festival was fisticuffs and excessive drunkenness. The Valemount Craft Beer Experience is getting all the kids that just want to have fun. Top left to right: 5 Alarm Funk brought with it not just grooves but numerous props and costume changes; The festival in full swing; Two Valleyview Alberta residents; Above: Smithers Brewing Co. served up beer hard and fast /ANDRU MCCRACKEN & LAURA KEIL