ESCANABA - Escanaba's homebrew club, the Bay de Noc Brewers, will once again host the 7th annual UPtoberfest this Saturday, and all proceeds continue to benefit a local Delta County charity.
According to one of the event's organizers, Josh Marenger, who is also an officer of Bay de Noc Brewers, this marks the fourth year the event has been hosted by the group. Before then, it was run by the United Way of Delta County - the local charity that benefits from UPtoberfest.
The event is the U.P.'s first and only wine and beer festival.
"What we really focus on is craft beers from the U.P. and the northern Lower Peninsula as well," said Marenger. "We try to make it more of a local fest."
More than a dozen regional breweries and wineries will serve as vendors at this year's UPtoberfest for a total of approximately 75 choices of beer and wine for those attending.
The following Michigan breweries will be represented at this year's event, according to the UPtoberfest website: Hereford & Hops of Escanaba; Bell's of Kalamazoo; New Holland of Holland; Short's Brewing Company of Bellaire; Soo Brewing Company of Sault Ste. Marie; Blackrocks Brewing Company and Ore Dock Brewing Company, both of Marquette; Keweenaw Brewing Company of Houghton; North Peak Brewing Company of Traverse City; and Cheboygan Brewing Company of Cheboygan. Threefold Vine Winery, Algomah Acres Honey Farm and Northern Sun Winery will also be represented.
Bobaloon's Cafe will be providing food including a spit-roasted chicken and hors d'ouvres, and bluegrass music will be performed by the band Grassfire.
Tickets to the event, which runs from 2 to 7 p.m. behind Hereford & Hops this Saturday, cost $25 in advance or $30 at the gate. Tickets are available for purchase on the UPtoberfest website, www.uptoberfest.org, or at Bobaloon's Cafe, Hereford & Hops, and White's Party Store in Marquette.
The price of a ticket includes a souvenir pint glass, and attendees get 15 three ounce samples in addition to food. Designated drivers get in free and will be offered non-alcoholic refreshments like soda or coffee.
Marenger said attendance at UPtoberfest varies depending on weather and other activities happening locally, but usually a couple hundred people attend. Last year's event raised a record amount of money for the United Way of Delta County.
"We were at $3,300 last year," said Marenger. "That was a record last year. The year before that I think it was in the $2,500 range."