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Dec. 7, 2021

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Beer, wine fest returns to Esther Short

‘We’re busting our butts, but we have a full festival’ this year

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The Craft Beer & Wine Fest returns to Esther Short Park this weekend after last year's cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Craft Beer & Wine Fest returns to Esther Short Park this weekend after last year's cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Contributed by the Craft Beer & Wine Fest) Photo Gallery

After its cancellation last year due to the pandemic, the Craft Beer & Wine Fest returns this weekend to Vancouver’s Esther Short Park with beer, wine, whiskey, cocktails, food trucks and live music.

“We’re busting our butts, but we have a full festival,” organizer Rusty Hoyle said.

Hoyle and his fellow organizer, Sherie Szubski, received the city’s approval for the event just nine weeks ago. They usually have six months to a year to plan.

In addition, they’ve encountered supply-chain problems, price hikes and a shortage of workers. A few weeks ago, the organizers were driving around in search of 16-ounce plastic cups, throwing whatever they could find in their SUV, a few hundred at a time. They need 20,000 for the weekend.

“It’s hard to serve beer in a cupped hand. I don’t think that’s legal,” Hoyle joked.

If you go

What: Craft Beer & Wine Fest

Where: Esther Short Park, 605 Esther St., Vancouver

When: 5-10 p.m. today; noon-10 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

Admission: $27 for adult general admission for all three days with 10 tasting tickets; $36 for a pass that includes 20 tasting tickets; $80 for a pass that includes food and table seating and 20 tasting tickets; $10 for designated drivers; sales tax and credit or debit surcharge is additional.

Information: thecraftwinefest.com

Despite these hardships, the organizers feel good about the event going forward.

“We’ve had tremendous community support from our sponsors and vendors,” Hoyle said. “That has made this possible.”

Volunteers have always been the engine that runs this large event. The festival requires at least 300 volunteers, who receive admission and drink tickets for their trouble.

The live music lineup includes a Police tribute band called S.O.S. tonight, an AC/DC tribute band called Thunderstruck on Saturday, and blues band True Bluesers on Sunday.

The organizers encourage people to bring lounge chairs so they can sit and enjoy their drinks and food while listening to live music. Proceeds from the event go to the Clark County Food Bank.

The festival’s COVID-19 precautions include spreading tents 10 feet apart, extra hand-washing stations and bathrooms, and signs to remind people to social distance. Organizers checked that their 12 employees are fully vaccinated. Masks will be available for fest-goers and volunteers. Fully vaccinated guests don’t have to wear masks at this outdoor event. The organizers said they will not be checking vaccinations cards.

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