This past weekend was the Boonville Beer Festival. Alas, Joe and I were working and couldn't go, but I have to applaud the people watching from the tasting room windows. It was pouring, and there were thousands of people camping at the fairgrounds (right across the road) or down at the brewery. On Saturday morning we watched them walking in the rain to the fairgrounds. Many were smart and brought boots and rain jackets and hats (which scared Ozzie to death), but there were many others walking around in soaking wet sweatshirts and jeans. Fun...
There were quite a few beers in-hand starting at about 11 a.m. I thought it was amusing that all the pre-lubrication was from cans of beer that came out of ice chests, not the local bottles from the brewery (cheap beer to start the morning off right). By the time the festival had been going for a few hours, we started to see sheriff's cars with people in the back. They'd drive north empty and south full. Making laps to the Ukiah jail.
Taps were closed at 5 p.m. and the gates closed at 6 p.m. We were supposed to go to a party at my brother's in Cloverdale that evening, but after watching the stream of cars heading out of the valley (with some very questionable drivers), we decided to stay home.
It always amazes me the difference between something like a beer or reggae festival and our wine festivals. You just simply don't see sheriff's cars full of people being arrested at a wine festival. People don't pee on the side of the downtown restaurants or pitch tents anywhere there's an open space, someone else's front lawn or not. At last year's reggae festival we even had people bathing in the spigot where our tasting room is now. And the sheriff's department gets notice of all events because we have to pay for permits to hold them, which need to be signed off on by local law enforcement. You don't exactly see the sheriff's department sending five cars to hang out outside the Pinot Festival, whereas they were definitely all over town for the beer festival.
A different crowd, definitely, but more importantly, a different mentality. And, interestingly enough, the people we had in the tasting room this weekend weren't here for the beer festival. We did have a few groups in and we charged a tasting fee for those just wanting to go through wine flights before drinking beer all day, but the majority of visitors on this busy weekend were going to or coming from Mendocino - the normal procedure.