The Making of Brighton Brewfest 2021
This Season of Giving we are highlighting how Brighton Main Streets and local businesses have helped our neighbors reconnect over the past year. Please consider supporting BMS with a small dollar donation to help make more community connections like these.
Planning for the Brighton Main Streets 2020 fall fundraiser – like many other plans – got sidelined due to COVID-19. An always impactful and creative event, which for years was held as a grand gala at venues throughout the neighborhood, we recognized the need to shift the fundraiser to a virtual event to keep our neighbors safe. Historically this event has been a primary source of revenue for BMS to continue our innovative programming support of local businesses. Our Mask-erade! Digital Cocktail Hour was a success, reaching our modest goal while providing a feel-good experience for all who attended (via Zoom).
It became clear that if BMS was going to hold an in-person event that truly reconnected Brighton residents, we needed to have neighbors both new and old in attendance. A longtime dream of our Executive Director, Aidan McDonough, was a beer garden-style event within the neighborhood, and perfect to implement when he assumed the role at Brighton Main Streets. Rather than go it alone, BMS reached out to our friends at the PSF Community Center.
“BMS and the PSF Community Center have always had a great relationship, but lucked out even more when Clodagh Drummey started right around when I joined BMS,” said McDonough. “We both have been navigating how to lead these long respected organizations through both ‘normal’ times and now the pandemic. I approached Clodagh with the idea about the potential collaboration in July 2021 and she was immediately interested and saw the potential success that could come from it.”
Rather than reinvent the wheel, Aidan and Clodagh thought of partnering with an already established beer festival. It turned out that Ted Stevenson from Oak Square Liquors already had all the right connections within the beer world. Ted reached out to his contacts in the beer, cider, and hard seltzer industry and secured 19 different local and regional breweries to serve as vendors at the event.
After weeks of planning and several committee meetings, on November 13th BMS and the PSF Community Center held Brighton Brewfest 2021, welcoming over 300 guests to the transformed PSF parking lot. Tents were adorned with lights and fall decorations across from the event stage. Friends and family, small business owners, local elected officials, neighborhood project developers, as well as representatives from the local universities and institutions enjoyed musical entertainment from Patch of Grass and food from Brato Brewhouse + Kitchen as they enjoyed drink selections in their custom Brighton Brewfest 2021 tasting mugs.
Though the afternoon was beautiful, a heavy rain storm arrived and quickly became an unwanted guest. But folks came prepared for the troublesome weather, wearing warm coats and boots. The tents proved useful and the band continued to play! All in all it had been the evening that the BMS team had hoped for this year’s fundraiser!
“What has made the event feel even more successful have been the stories shared by guests. Friends who saw each other for the first time in months, to people even meeting for the first time that have only met via Zoom prior to Brighton Brewfest,” said Jeanne Levesque, President to the Brighton Main Streets’ Board of Directors.
“We are continuing to be strategic in having more events in the commercial Main Street District, but just as important, we want the event attendees to be reflective of our neighborhood,” Levesque added. “From the turnout at the event to the comments we have received afterwards, we feel like we are heading in the right direction.”