No longer just a subject of discussions among community stakeholders, the idea for a craft beer festival in the city will emerge as a reality this fall.
Planning is underway, and organizers are ready for a Save the Date announcement: The inaugural Morristown Craft Beer Festival will be held Sept. 28 in the center of the city, at the Farmers Market Pavilion and adjacent outdoor green space.
Facilitated by the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce and its committee, “Make Morristown Home,” the family-friendly festival will feature live entertainment, craft beer education, food vendors, children’s activities and, for the adults, a selection of craft beers from around the country.
The members of the Make Morristown Home committee partnered with Martin Pippin, who put together the South Knoxville (SoKno) Oktoberfest festival that is set to return this fall.
“The committee knew pulling off a festival would be impossible without bringing in someone with experience and know-how and that could organize and champion our event … basically do the heaving lifting,” Committee Chair Chris Horn said. “Marty was a great introduction for us and has been fantastic to work with thus far. He and his team have the marketing and operational horsepower that only comes from the experience of successfully organizing numerous events.”
The Make Morristown Home committee was established early in 2018 to explore opportunities the Chamber could assist with in terms of addressing obstacles in retaining or recruiting talent to Morristown.
“‘Talent’ meaning people, and especially young working age folks, all the way up to retirees,” Horn said. “We have a great community with much to offer, but often we lose talent to other communities. While we reviewed several topics such as housing, job opportunities, training, education, and other quality of life factors, many of these were already being addressed or outside the scope of Chamber influence.”
The committee’s mission was to find new ways to meet the entertainment needs of those living or working in the city.
“We had been receiving regular feedback that there was no outlet for the craft beer enthusiasts,” Horn said. “In the recent past, there have been some craft brewers show initial interest in making an investment in Morristown, but to date there is no such offering. The festival was born as the next best option and in hopes of exploring the true interest our community has in the growing popularity of Craft Beer. Since there is no existing festival similar to the one we are planning we felt like it was a unique offering for Morristown and it didn’t compete with any other existing events.”
The festival will be a daylong event, hours are scheduled as noon to 8 p.m. There will be no charge to attend the festival.
Activities will include a corn hole tournament for youth and adults that will be available for teams made up of local companies and organizations or groups of friends. A kid zone will be set up on site, featuring inflatables and games for the younger attendees. Vending booth spaces will be available, and food trucks are expected to be on hand as well.
There will be a minimum of three live entertainment sets throughout the festival, according to Pippin, featuring a variety of music styles.
The festival will feature up to 20 craft beers, with offerings from lager and ales to bocks and sours. Tasting packages will be available.
“And we’ll have two education segments,” Pippin said. “A lot of people are curious about the types of craft beer that are available and from where the different styles originate. We will offer information to make them feel more comfortable about making choices and gain an overall knowledge.”
VIP tents will be available as well, for friend groups or organizations who would like to spend the entire festival together.
“This will be a nice way for a team to come out and enjoy the day,” Horn said during a recent Chamber board of directors meeting. “We hope the festival will stimulate other activity in the area.”
Volunteer opportunities will be available during setup, administration and cleanup. For more information about participating, call 423-584-3513 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. A website for the festival is under development, and social media outlets will offer updates prior to the event.