Harrison Hot Springs will be getting into the craft beer spirit this month, with the eighth annual Harrison Beer Festival.
“They were looking to do something to bring in tourism in the winter. People love beer,” Tourism Harrison event coordinator Stephanie Gallamore explained.
“It was really positive right from its inception, and it just kind of continued to grow.”
Between Friday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Oct. 26, around 1,000 people will descend on Harrison to experience the province’s craft beer industry.
The festival will kick off Friday with an Irish “cask night” in the St. Alice Hall, where patrons will get a chance to sample tap into 10 different casks from local breweries and enjoy some Irish music and food. Games (such as a potato peeling contest) are also on the schedule for the evening.
Saturday between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. marks the biggest event of the weekend: the beer festival itself.
At least 20 different breweries will be on site, each bringing between two and four beers for festival-goers to sample. Tickets also include access to a buffet, three tokens and a small sampling glass.
“I try to focus on supporting the hyperlocal when we can,” Gallamore said. “So we do have Flashback from Chilliwack, and Old Yale from Chilliwack.”
The line up will also include Hope’s Mountainview Brewing, which is set to open in early 2020, as well as brewers from as far away as Kamloops and Vancouver Island.
The festival wraps up with a night of polka at the annual Oktoberfest dance, taking place in St. Alice Hall from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
“I love dressing up for events, so I think it’s the funnest one,” Gallamore said. “It’s kind of weird. It’s polka, but it’s fantastic.”
The Oktoberfest dance gives adults of all ages a chance to learn the polka to the music of the Beer Barrels Band, as well as eat a variety of German food. In past years, many people dress up for the occassion, showing up in lederhosen and dirndl.
So far, tickets are sold out for both the cask night and the beer festival, with only a few remaining for Oktoberfest. Gallamore said the event is usually completely sold out each year, and actually brings a boost to the village’s accomodations, with both locals and visitors coming for the weekend.
As for the future of the event? Gallamore said the overnight stay packages increase in sales every year, and with the expectation of another sold out festival, she hopes it will continue to be a positive event for the village.
“We haven’t had, fingers cross, any major issues with attendees. People getting too intoxicated and causing problems. It’s been very positive.,” she said. “So as long as we can keep bringing in people to Harrison and showcase that … it’s still a beautiful place to be in October, then I think we’re doing a good job.”