POWNAL >> Organizers of a brewfest this Saturday hope its success leads to the former Green Mountain Racetrack on Route 7 becoming a destination for events.
The Green Mountain Brewfest will bring beer from thirty different breweries as well as live music, food and other vendors, according to Festival Director Derek Signore.
The brewfest kicks off rain or shine at 12 p.m. and runs through 4 p.m. Tickets are $45 at the gate. Entry includes a tasting glass for the 5 ounce pours.
"We wanted to go for beers that were top of the line and showcase the best," Signore said.
Ten small-batch homebrewed beers will also be available for tasting as part of a homebrew competition. Signore advised attendees should get to the site early before the homebrew is gone.
Signore said one of the site's major attractions is the wide-sweeping mountain views.
"It's been an amazing site to work with," he said in-between setting up at the racetrack on Friday.
Once a major economic engine for the region, the Green Mountain Racetrack opened as a thoroughbred horseracing venue in 1963 and was converted for greyhound racing in 1976. After closing in 1992, the 144-acre site, with its 64,000-squarefoot, art-deco style, glass and metal grandstand, has largely sat silent.
But the site has hosted events like car shows, fairs, and notably the 1996 Lollapalooza Music Festival, in which Metallica, Soundgarden and the Ramones were among the acts.
The most recent effort to hold a music festival didn't come to fruition. Last August, organizers with Green Mountain Live, which has owned the track since 2015, cancelled a blues concert with headliner ZZ Top 10 days before the event. Stephen Soler, managing director for Green Mountain Live, told the Banner that he was forced to cancel that event after a disagreement between the company and Pan Am Railways over a license to use a railway crossing.
Signore, noting he wasn't involved with the concert last summer, said the property owners and brewfest organizers worked with the railroad early on in their planning efforts. Organizers wanted to hold a smaller-scale event this time around to show that the property is a viable event venue.
At least 750 people are expected, Signore said. Most of the tickets that were already sold were to people coming from out of state.
Breweries and vendors will be under tents on the grass in front of the massive grandstand building.
Participating breweries include locals like J'ville Brewery of Jacksonville, Hermit Thrush of Brattleboro and Brown's Brewing Company of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., and major players like Narragansett and Magic Hat.
"We did pay tribute to Vermont breweries," Signore said. "We're so close to Massachusetts and New York, so we brought some from those states to round out the whole package."
Attendees looking to grab a bite can choose from six food trucks: The Chuck Wagon, Bennington Ramuntos, the Desperados Burrito Truck, Mad Jack's BBQ and Buzz Truck Coffee. A dozen vendors at the event will offer things like local Vermont-made cheeses, homemade hot sauce and even candied bacon.
Live music throughout the day will be provided by The Grebes, Saints & Liars, and Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band.
For more information, visit Green Mountain Brewfest on Facebook or at www.greenmountainbrewfest.com.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979