The Beers for Good Organization and the city of Fitchburg are teaming up once again to bring the 11th annual Nashua River Brewers Festival to Riverfront Park in downtown Fitchburg this Saturday, from 1 to 6 p.m.
More than 35 local craft brewers and cider makers will be serving over 100 different beers and ciders to vendors. All proceeds will go to Cameron's Crusaders Services for the Disabled, Fitchburg's Cultural Alliance Music for Youth Program, Growing Places Support for Fitchburg Farmers' Market, Gateway Park Community Garden Supplies and of course, Fitchburg Civic Days. (See cover story.)
"It's rain or shine," says David Streb, one of the founding members of Beers for Good. "We have a big tent for the beer, wine and cider, and a roof over the stage."
Streb, who has lived in Fitchburg for 40 years with his family, is a former planning coordinator and community-development director for the city until he stepped down in 2010. He and some friends formed Beers for Good in 2008, when they collectively saw a need for a brewery festival in Worcester County, one that would benefit local charity organizations.
There are three main components that make up the mission of Beers for Good:
: To inform the public about the wide range of craft beers in central Massachusetts.
: To attract people to Fitchburg.
: To raise money for a good cause.
Streb admits that he hasn't tasted some of the beers that will be featured this year, adding that the breweries offering their beers this year are SaltBox Kitchen Brewery, 3 Cross Fermentation Project, Redemption Rock, Small Change and Anonymous Brewing.
"That's what makes this event so special — small breweries with beer you don't see every day," Streb says.
Beers for Good has raised more than $80,000 in festival proceeds donated to such charitable organizations as Cleghorn Neighborhood Center, GVNA Food Bank, the Meals on Wheels Program and others. Streb says putting together the Nashua River Brewers Festival is the most rewarding aspect of working with Beers for Good, although it can be quite challenging as the big day draws closer.
"The turnout has varied between 800 and 1,350 attendees," Streb says. "Typically, around 1,200 people attend."
In addition to the Nashua River Brewers Festival, Beers for Good has created countless other "beer-centric" events in Fitchburg that serve to entertain and present the wonderful entertainment and recreation venues the city offers. Previous events include February's Coggshall Park Winterfest and 2015's Oktoburgfest at the Fitchburg Armory, which aimed to help the Friends of the Fitchburg Senior Center. Immediately following this year's Brewers Festival, planning begins for Fitchburg's three one-day music festivals scheduled for July, August, and September at Riverfront Park.
Streb says one of his favorites parts of the Brewers Festival is "asking people when they leave how they liked it, and hearing them say they loved it. They always say they had a great time. We get a lot of repeat business, because everyone always has a good time."
The Nashua River Brewers Festival is a 21-and-older event . Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 on Saturday. Bring lawn chairs or blankets to enjoy the live music provided by The Copacetics, Panoramic View and The Settlers.
Email Jacquelyn Jarnagin at email@example.com if you have an upcoming event you'd like featured in Best Bets.