Ringing in the holidays takes all forms and raising a glass for a toast fits many people’s traditions. The Marathon Chamber of Commerce is making it easy to do this with a Florida Keys Craft Beer & Bubbly Fest set for Saturday, Dec. 27, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Marathon Community Park & Amphitheater near 36th Street in Marathon. And, if you haven’t had enough holiday shopping, nautical gifts and arts and crafts are to be on hand as well.
With free event entry, the chamber and visitor center invites all to enjoy craft beers, white and red wines, champagne and sparkling wines at guests’ leisure. More than 30 retail vendors are to be on hand. A food truck invasion, live local music and community fellowship round out the fun. The inaugural event is presented by Marathon Chamber of Commerce and Fishermen’s Community Hospital Foundation. “We look forward to entertaining all our guests and locals,” said Daniel Samess, chief executive officer of the chamber.
Event planners are keeping things simple. All craft beer, wine, “bubblies” and mimosas are $5 each. Beverage and food tickets may be bought via credit card machines and ATMs are to be on premises. What won’t be so simple is choosing what to try.
Twenty-three beer and cider choices are listed at the website with hints of flavors ranging from banana, pear and citrus to chocolate, nuts, herbs and flowers. Water makes up about 90 percent of a beer’s content so it is vitally important to the beer’s taste. The definition of beer, ingredients and the value of the water is shared at the site, www.keysbeerandbubblyfest.com. A vendor list, driving directions and updated festival information is posted there. The event also has a facebook page.
“Bubbly” or sparkling wine is a wine with significant levels of carbon dioxide making it fizzy. Champagne is exclusively produced in the Champagne region of France but many sparkling wines are produced in other countries and regions of France such as Bordeaux, which is represented at the festival with pomegranate and pear flavors.
After making a definition available, the descriptions of available “bubbly” from several countries such as Chile, Italy, Spain and France, and the states of Washington and California are listed.
Under “vino,” the inaugural Florida Keys Craft Beer & Bubbly Fest acknowledges that while “wine” may be left out of the event’s title, “it surely is not left out of the festival.” Wines from around the world and 18 varieties are available for tastes. Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes or other fruits. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, water or other nutrients, according to Wikipedia.
Food vendors include Cheeseburger Baby, Crazydilla, Arepas Las Gorditas, The Original Greek, Palate Party, Parabas Grill, Tacos Veracruz and Veggie Xpress, while scheduled entertainers are John Bartus & Storm Watch, Myles Mancuso, Adrienne & InJade and the Eric Stone Band.
VIP tickets are being offered for $60 per person for access to a VIP tent and all its amenities at no additional cost, such as all-you-can-eat food provided by Cabana Breezes Restaurant, all you can drink (choice of two craft beers, select wine and champagne) and non-alcoholic drinks; tickets for use outside VIP area, complimentary event beer mug, comfortable furniture from Royal Furniture for lounging and an open view of the entertainment on stage. Contact the chamber at 305-743-5417 if interested in the VIP Package.
“All our events are family-friendly,” Samess said. “We’ll have rides for the kids.”
There are also rides for adults. “Ample taxi cabs are available to take home those who may enjoy themselves a bit too much. We trust people to be safe and make good decisions,” said Samess. “We want attendees to have a great time and at the same time be safe.”
The Florida Keys Craft Beer & Bubbly Fest seems to ensure that high spirits will last through the end of 2014. See www.keysbeerandbubblyfest.com for more information.