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Brewfest a successful, peaceful event

Posted: Tuesday, Jul 22nd, 2014

Sheldon Olsen of Layton, Utah; Diane Rockwood of Ogden, Utah; and Krista Olsen, Kathy Green and Joel Green, all of Layton, Utah, enjoy the craft brews featured at Evanston’s sixth annual Brewfest last Saturday, July 19, at Depot Square. The Olsens, who own a cabin in the Uintas, have attended the popular event every year since its inception. (HERALD PHOTO/Bryon Glathar)

EVANSTON — Depot Square was filled with both residents and visitors Saturday for the sixth annual Evanston Brewfest. The popular event drew many beer drinkers from neighboring Utah and some from Idaho and other states.

“We surveyed some people and 90 percent of the people we talked to were staying at a hotel in Evanston Saturday night,” said Dawn Darby, executive director of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber took over the event a couple of months ago after the Urban Renewal Agency canceled it, citing too heavy a workload. This year’s attendance was down, according to Darby, who said she believes the cancellation and subsequent resurrection of the event contributed to a lower-than-usual attendance.

She said there were about 1,000 in attendance and the festival grossed about $35,000. But even with lower numbers, Darby said the event was a big success.

“The community was just great,” she said. “I think our community knows that this is a huge event that not only brings people to our community, but that these people stay and spend money in our local businesses.”

She said spending money at Brewfest is one way to help Evanston, but that many visitors, once they come to town, spend money all over town on things such as food, gas, and other entertainment. She said the chamber passed out coupons for Wyoming Downs and she suspects the racetrack saw a boost in attendance Sunday.

Evanston Police Lt. Bill Jeffers agreed that the event was a success.

“All in all, it was a good event,” Jeffers told the Herald. “It was rather peaceful. People seemed to be having a good time.”

There were some minor incidents, Jeffers said. A fight broke out at Depot Square and two more on Main Street, where the city had extended boundaries for open containers and vendor booths lined the street. But Jeffers said police broke them up right away and none of the skirmishes got out of hand.

“With the officers right there,” he said, “the fights that did occur were immediately broken up and charges filed.”

Three people were hauled off to jail during the event — all of whom, according to Jeffers, were drunk — but the vast majority enjoyed a peaceful summer day, including Dave Villegas and Mike Floyd, who came from Sandy, Utah, for Brewfest.

“It’s just awesome,” Floyd told the Herald. “It’s a lot better than the one in Salt Lake.”

One group of friends said they enjoyed the festival as much as any of the six years they’ve attended.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Sheldon Olsen of Layton, Utah, said. “We have a cabin in the Uintas, 25 miles from here. It’s just beautiful up here.”

Olsen and his wife, Krista Olsen, said they enjoy stopping in Evanston every year for the event and since it usually falls around the same time as Utah’s Pioneer Day, they try to plan a cabin trip around the event and anticipate doing the same next year.

Darby said any profits from the event will be maintained by the chamber and will be used to provide workshops for local businesses, such as customer service training or marketing workshops.

Twelve breweries participated in the event, providing over 40 different brews. Patrons voted for their overall favorite, as well as their favorite nut brown ale, from among the bunch.

Prairie Fire Brewing Company’s SOB 2 Double IPA took the prize for overall people’s choice.

In the nut brown ale competition, first place went to Suds Bros. Brewery, second went to Prairie Fire Brewing Company and third place went to Uinta Brewing Company.

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