Thousands of beer lovers from throughout the region are expected to flock to Tempe Beach Park the weekend of March 6-7, 2010 for the 22nd Annual Great Arizona Beer Festival. The annual festival is the primary fund raising event for Sun Sounds of Arizona, a reading service for people who are blind or whose disability prevents them from reading printed material, such as newspapers, magazines and best-selling books.
Presented by azcentral.com, the festival is dedicated to the enjoyment of fine craft brews. More than 7,000 beer aficionados, Arizonans and guests attend this weekend-long festival each year to celebrate and sample more than 200 specialty and micro-brewed beers – more than any other festival in the state – from all over the Southwest and beyond. The festival also features live music, games, a variety of great food, and fun for people age 21 and over. This year’s live entertainment will be provided by local bands Big Nick and The Gila Monsters (Saturday, March 6) and Major Lingo (Sunday, March 7).
Additional event sponsors include 944 magazine, which is the presenting sponsor of the VIP Experience. Casino Arizona is the Safe Ride Home Sponsor, KDKB is the official FM Radio sponsor, and Yelp.com is also a featured sponsor.
This year’s event will include several exciting new components, such as:
- For the first time in the history of the festival, select beers will be judged by a panel of representatives from azcentral.com, 944 magazine and DRAFT magazine.
- The VIP Experience, presented by 944 magazine, will feature casino-style gaming including blackjack, Texas Hold ‘Em poker, roulette and craps, with opportunities to win and bid on raffle and live auction prizes with casino “winnings.” All proceeds benefit Sun Sounds of Arizona. The VIP area will also feature a variety of other games and catered food.
- Guests can try their luck in the virtual paintball laser shooting gallery, a new attraction that offers a realistic paintball experience without the mess of traditional paintball presented by Tempe Paintball. A perfect score qualifies guests for a prize drawing.
- Also, returning this year, the popular beanbag game Cornhole will be hosted by tournament organizers Cornhole Arizona.
- The Designated Driver pavilion area will feature free massages provided by Arizona School of Massage Therapy, a variety of non-alcoholic drinks provided by The Pop Shop, and designated parking.
- Leading up to the event, the GAZBF will host a variety of online contests and promotions through azcentral.com, 944.com and their fan pages on social media sites Facebook and Twitter.
“I think this year’s event is going to be a great one! In addition to great beer and vendors, we have a lot of new ideas to entertain the crowd,” says Sue DesParte, chair of the 2010 event. “I’m also looking forward to raising as much money as possible, since every nickel we earn goes directly to Sun Sounds of Arizona.”
Tickets are $40 in advance and $50 at the gate for general admission, including up to 24 different beer samples, or $80 in advance/$90 at the gate for VIP admission. In addition to catered food, shade, VIP entertainment and games, separate restrooms, and other amenities, VIPs may also enter an hour before the festival starts and will receive a free event T-shirt and gift bag. Designated drivers receive general admission entry to the festival for only $20 and VIP entry for $30.
The Great Arizona Beer Festival will be held on Saturday, March 6 and Sunday, March 7 from 2 to 6 p.m. Tickets are available at www.azbeer.com and at participating pubs and retail outlets. Visit www.azbeer.com or call 480-774-8300 for details.