Saturday was a perfect day for a cold beer, live music and local food. And Longview’s second annual Crafted Brew Fest at Civic Circle delivered.
With temperatures in the mid-80s, attendees sported shorts, T-shirts and dresses while casually sipping their beverages.
While some played competitive games of cornhole, others lounged in the sun underneath R.A. Long Park’s trees.
“Everyone seems to be having a good time,” said Jennifer Wills, director of the Longview Parks and Recreation Department.
The Parks and Recreation Department and the Rotary Club of Longview organized the event. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit the Parks Department and proceeds from alcohol sales benefit the Rotary.
Early in the afternoon, Wills predicted the attendance would be much bigger than last year, which was Crafted’s first year.
This year there were 27 breweries — nearly twice as many as last year — and eight food vendors.
Erik Svendsen, owner of North Jetty Brewing from Seaview, Wash., said he returned to Crafted this year because he enjoyed the event last year. He goes to at least a dozen beer festivals a year, he said, and Crafted measures up to ones that have been around longer.
“It’s a good event, especially for being only its second year,” he said. “It will get better and bigger as it continues.”
In addition to a customer favorite, Svendsen said he brought a never-before-released beer called the Hazy Down Under IPA.
“We always try to bring a popular standby and a new beer to show people what else we’re doing,” he said.
Kelso resident Bill Brawand, who does his own home brewing, said he was impressed with the array of beers at the event.
Rotary member Marc Silva said organizers learned a lot from last year to make this year’s event much “smoother.” They had more volunteers and had more time to plan things in advance, he said.
Longview resident Ron Johnson said he didn’t know about the event until someone mentioned it to him at the bank Saturday morning. He stopped by for a beer and was impressed with the event, he said.
“Events like this has gotta help the community. It’s more exposure for Longview and local businesses,” he said.
Kaitlin Hansen, who works at Red Canoe, and Kathy Tomsik, a retired teacher, said they liked the new layout this year. Last year, the beer tents were too compressed, they said.
“We’re beer connoisseurs,” they said together, before accepting a glass from volunteer Len Hallock.
Asked if people were in a good mood, Hallock said, “Of course. Drinking beer in the afternoon.”
For those who don’t enjoy beer, there were also two local wineries: Roland and the Kelso Theater Pub.
“Most people who like beer also like wine, so this gives them a good option,” said Marc Roland, owner of Roland Winery.
He said he wanted to support an event that used R.A. Long Park, which has historically been underutilized.
“It’s a great event for people to have more face time instead of being on their phones,” he said. “It’s bringing people together, and that makes them realize what a great town this is.”
Zachary Kuenzli, a 26-year-old from Longview, said he enjoyed Crafted last year, but this year was even better because the breweries were more spread out, giving people more space to use the whole park.
“Events like this gets everybody out and having a good time,” he said. “It’s good if we can come together and agree on something, even if it’s beer.”