WINDSOR — The send-off festival of the season is underway and it’s got one main theme: Beer.
Windsor Eats is gearing up for the seventh annual Craft Beer Festival and this year’s edition is once again at historic Willistead Park, right next to the manor.
“We knew we always wanted this to be the home of the festival. It ties in perfectly with the history, the beer festival and the history all of our branding is based off the history,” says co-organizer, Adriano Ciotoli of Windsor Eats. “While Hiram Walker is known for whiskey, he also had a world class brewery, and so we’re really tying into that and making the festival all about the neighbourhood.”
The festival is known for its immersive music and great pairing food, including sausages and poutine.
In all, Ciotoli says 18 breweries are taking part, supplying more than 100 beers and ciders for patrons to taste.
“This year we probably have our most local brewers participating, which is really exciting,” Ciotoli says, adding six new beers will also be launched at the festival, something not even regular customers of the breweries have tried.
“They’re doing one-off beers exclusively for the festival,” Ciotoli says. “So it’s something even their customers at the brewery aren’t getting and seeing and encouraging them to come out and helping them show their creativity a bit.”
Organizers say they’re happy to have the festival in the heart of Walkerville – but the benefits are known to spread beyond the festival gates. Ciotoli tells CTV News 12 to 15 per cent of customers are from out of town.
“We’re seeing when the festival is done, they’re going out into the community, spending in the community and we’ve become quite proud of the economic impact we’re having with this festival,” he says. “As it grows, hopefully we’re seeing that with hotels and restaurant meals and even going to see other events and festivities throughout the weekend.”
Tickets are $27 in advance and include beer and food tokens. If you wait to buy them at the gate, tickets cost $50. Doors open Friday Oct. 18 and Saturday Oct. 19 at 5:00 p.m. and stay open until 11:30.