Brew Fest brings ‘good energy’

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

FESTIVE MOOD at the 8th annual Brew Fest held at Point Sebago in Casco.

CASCO — As far as one area resident is concerned, this region saved its best festival for last.

“Nowhere else can you go where everyone is smiling and in a good mood. I am talking about thousands of people with smiles on their faces,” said local business woman Mrs. Tux (aka Billi Lynn Burke.) “You have an open beach area at Point Sebago Resort. You have the most beautiful views.”

She added, “There is live entertainment from the time you step onto the beach. Even as you are going to your car to leave, live music is playing,” she said. “And, of course, the best micro-brews, beers and wines are being poured.”

Mrs. Tux was describing the Maine Lakes Brew Fest, which drew more than 3,000 people to the beach at Point Sebago Resort on Saturday.

She said volunteers were helpful, rolling up their sleeves and jumping in wherever needed. When she was at one side of the beach checking on things, another organizer was on the other side of the festival acreage making sure the needs of the vendors and the public were being met.

“I had a big smile on my face the whole time. Usually, when I do a big event like this it’s stressful. But, everyone made it go so smooth,” Mrs. Tux said.

Even the sunshine burst through the cloud cover to attend the Brew Fest, she said. Some of the organizers and volunteers expressed worries about the overcast sky.

“I had no doubt. I told them ‘What are you concerned about? It’ll be sunny.’ And, at 11 a.m. the sun came out and it was beautiful day,” Mrs. Tux said. “It’s was a great day, but I tell you it is a lot of work to get to that day. This is not pieced together. When you have a great outcome, it isn’t the day that made it successful — it’s all the planning that everyone helped with.”

Mrs. Tux sits on the committee that started planning for 2011 three days after last year’s Brew Fest.

With the 8th annual Brew Fest under their belts, the Brew Fest planning committee members met again on Tuesday.

Seven committee members — all with full-time jobs — assume the responsibility of coordinating an aspect of the Brew Fest. Committee members work with staff at the Greater Bridgton Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce.

“The Chamber staff: They are the hub we send all the communication to,” she said.

The committee covered two things: Anything that can be improved upon and the budget for the 2012 Brew Fest, Mrs. Tux said. The committee shared comments and suggestions they heard from the public, the brewers and the volunteers.

“An improvement can be made upon anything you do,” she said. “The Brew Fest is continually growing, so we have to change for that growth.”

If bragging about Maine Lakes Brew Fest is on the committee’s job description, Mrs. Tux has hers down pat. Mrs. Tux readily offered big kudos for the crew of dedicated volunteers who set aside time to assist with the Brew Fest. Between 80 and 100 volunteers helped with the event, she said.

“People don’t just volunteer for a few hours. A lot of people volunteer all day,” Mrs. Tux said.

One of the benefits of attending the event is the networking that happens, which is why volunteers enjoy working the event as much as the brewers who bring their best samples.

The People’s Choice Awards were given to Casco-based Blacksmith’s Winery for the best wine, and Woodchuck for the best brewed beer, Mrs. Tux said. Also, a variety of scrumptious, fall-time food delighted the taste buds of festival-goers, she said.

“The smells of the food, the view, the energy, everything, is so wonderful. Dare I say it? It was as good as Christmas,” she said.

The annual Brew Fest falls the same time as Oktoberfest Weekend at Point Sebago Resort. Oktoberfest is a celebration with European roots, and usually occurs in September.

According to Mrs. Tux, organizers had a day or two after the event to “prop up our feet and congratulate ourselves, and enjoy the success of the 2011 Brew Fest.”

Then, all attention turned to the job of planning for 2012.

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