Macon beer fest more than a little draw
The Macon Beer Festival is packed full of fun activities with more than 100 craft beers and wines to try, several races and plenty of music.
But, it’s a party with a cause, said Steve Bell, the organizer of the festival.
Bell said he was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 42, and he learned in a support group that men are uneducated about the disease and treatment options.
“That’s what we’re trying to do is trying to educate people in the community and families about prostate cancer, what’s out there and the need for screening,” Bell said.
Bell started the festival nine years ago after reading an article about the man who started Pints for Prostates, a campaign that raises awareness about prostate cancer and the importance of screenings.
“I thought, ‘I could do something like that in Macon,’” Bell said.
The festival began with 16 beers and 200 people. Now, it has grown to more than 100 beers and wines, and Bell, the president elect of the Rotary Club of Downtown Macon, said they expect more than 3,000 people at this year’s festival.
The festival, put on by the Rotary Club of Downtown Macon, will be held on Aug. 24 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Downtown Macon. General admission tickets can be purchased online for $35 and at the event for $40.
Cile Lind, president of Rotary Club of Downtown Macon and practice administrator for Central Georgia Cancer Care, said the event is a great way to showcase Macon while supporting a great cause. Central Georgia Cancer Care is the presenting sponsor of the event.
Bell said the main goal of the festival is to educate men about prostate cancer and the importance of screenings.
Bell said they provide a free blood test that measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen in the blood as well as measuring for other health indicators such as cholesterol and testosterone.
He said they are offering the $700 test for free, and men do not have to buy a ticket to the festival to get tested.
But, there is an incentive for the men who attend the festival to get a screening that Bell said has not been offered before.
Bell said they will be giving each man who gets a screening three fast passes, which allows visitors to go to the front of the line to get beer.
The proceeds also go to prostate cancer research and funding. Bell said last year, they put $18,000 in a prostate cancer fund with the Community Foundation of Central Georgia. They donated $5,000 of the proceeds to Pints for Prostates, and the Rotary Club used the rest for grants in the community, he said.
“We say this is a health fair disguised as a beer festival,” he said. “There’s no event in Middle Georgia like this. There’s no event where you can come out and have fun at a festival while you’re supporting a nonprofit and potentially saving somebody’s life.”
The festival will host three different races this year, according to the Macon Beer Festival website.
The first race starts at 8 a.m., and it is called the Pint Pacer 5K. Online registration for the race closes on Thursday at midnight.
The second race, Superhero Dash for Dad, starts at 8:45 a.m. Children 9-years-old and under are encouraged to wear superhero outfits while they run to support the men in their lives, according to the website.
The final race is the beer run. For a single person, it starts at 4:30 p.m., and for teams, it starts at 5 p.m. During this race, competitors will stop every quarter-mile to drink a can of beer. If there is a team, they can divide the drinking among them. Tickets are sold online.
Bell said this is the first year the festival will have two music stages.
Free Lance Ruckus will be performing their alternative Americana rock and country music, according to the festival website.
Randall Bramblett Band will hit the audience with Southern rock. Randall Bramblett has performed with The Allman Brothers Band, Bonnie Raitt and other famous artists, according to the website.
In the wine garden area of the festival, Bobby Hall will be playing guitar in several different genres of music, according to the website.
People can end there beer drinking day with some smooth jazz by The Ken Trimmins Quartet, according to the website.