BROOKINGS – If you’ve got time for only one great party before you say sayonara to summer, make it the Wing & Brew Festival this Saturday at the Swiftel Center in Brookings.
Not only will festival-goers be able to sample some of the best wings and craft brews in the Upper Midwest, they’ll be able to take in a car show, treat the kiddies to a day of games, participate in a volleyball tournament or a 5K run/walk, or just boogie the day away enjoying the sounds of Too Drunk to Fish or the Rude Band.
It costs just six bucks to get into the day-long festival (kids under 12 are free with paying adults), but that offers entrée to an entire day of fun.
The seventh annual summer blowout, the festival begins at noon when the wing vendors open for business. There’s a lunch special from noon to 3 p.m.: 25 tickets for just $20. Why not make it an all-day party with friends and family?
Noon is also the time the co-ed sand volleyball tournament begins (have you signed up your team?) and when the backyard games and kids inflatables areas open.
At 12:30, the 5K Fun Run/Walk gets started (walk off those wings!), and at 1 p.m. the brew festival tent opens. (Activities actually begin there at noon, but public sampling will be delayed for an hour.)
One p.m. is also the official start for the car show. It runs until 5 p.m. Mellow out on the Swiftel lawn until 4:30 when Too Drunk to Fish takes the stage.
The amateur wing cooking contest will be held at 6:30, and the Rude Band begins its performance at 7.
At 7:59 it’s last call for the brew sampling, which ends at 8, but beer will still be available at concession stands at the center.
The wing-eating contest takes place at 8:30 p.m., and wing sales end a half-hour later, so be sure to get your bucket in advance.
The festival wraps up at 10:30, and gates close at 11.
• Dozens of craft, microbrews available
Nothing goes better with a bucket of wings than a cold beer – or several cold beers – says Mike Siegel, the man in charge of the third annual Brewfest.
This year, Siegel has arranged to have 55 different craft and microbrews available for sampling, and a dozen of those will be “top shelf” varieties.
Siegel, the director of food and beverage for the Swiftel Center, says he’ll have a premium-beer sampling area that will include brands like Boulevard, Old Rasputin, Bacchus and Snarling Badger.
These are high-end beers, the brewmeister explains, and the “top shelf” area in the Brewfest tent is a 2012 initiative to introduce party-goers to brands they might not otherwise have tried – or been able to afford.
The craft and microbrews will be available for $1 a sample; top-shelf beer samples will cost a bit more.
The Brewfest tent will include a couple of other features beer aficionados will appreciate: the people from Wooden Legs Brewing Company in Brookings, along with the SDSU Brew Club, will have an ongoing brewing demonstration and workshop at the tent and will be answering questions from festival attendees interested in getting into home brewing.
Also on hand will be representatives from Taylor’s Pantry of Sioux Falls, a company that offers specialty beers and provides materials for many local home brewers.
Although the Wing & Brew Festival is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start, activities at the beer tent will get under way at noon.