vendors

The first West Virginia Food & Craft Beverage Festival will offer West Virginia craft beer, wine, food and craft products at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center this Saturday.

The event, which has drawn 45 vendors, is the first festival of its kind in Beckley and the first event that the nonprofit Convention Center has hosted, Convention Center general manager Andrea Akers said Wednesday.

Community support for the venture has been impressive, she added.

"There's been a lot of love from Beckley," Akers said, explaining that Weathered Ground brewery owners have helped advise staff on organizing a craft beer festival and that local businesses are participating. "We're really excited about that.

"We have beer, hard cider, wineries, and then, we have some food vendors," she added.

BBQ, paninis and cotton candy are on the menu from vendors.

In a press release, event organizers describe the festival as "a celebration of the Great State of West Virginia." 

Vendors include Daniel Vineyards, Dobra Zupas restaurant, Sophisticated Hound Brewing Company, Bucha Brewhouse and Bistro, Hannahbug's Chocolates, Cool Hollow Maple Farm (which offers maple-flavored cotton candy), Leavitt Farm, Parkersburg Brewing Company, Big Al T's, Out of the Box Escape Room, Hempworx, Dolin's Delights and Hickory Switch BBQ.

The festival was the brainchild of the Convention Center staff, Akers said.

"All of our events, up to now, have been someone rents the building, someone puts on an event in the building," she explained. "June is typically a little bit slower month for us.

"We decided we would have our own festival. We have the facility, obviously, and we wanted to try to tie it into West Virginia Day (on June 20) and do something that would benefit the community, also."

The beverages manager suggested a craft beer festival, she added. The event will be family-friendly, despite the adult beverages being sampled. There will be plenty of food and live music, with a lineup of Downhill (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), Krista Hughes (1 to 3 p.m.), Creek Don’t Rise (3 to 5 p.m.), and Cody Wickline from 5 to 8 p.m.

Admission to sample craft beers and wines is $30, according to a press release from event organizers. Non-drinkers get to enjoy the festival for $5.

"If somebody wants to just see Cody Wickline in concert for $5, they can," Akers said.

The West Virginia Food and Craft Beverage Festival will be this Saturday, June 22, at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center, located at 200 Armory Dr. in Beckley, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Tickets are available online at beckleyconventioncenter.com or at the door.

Proceeds benefit construction of a new box office at the Convention Center, Akers reported.

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