Beer fest name decided

By Kelly Ducote, The Observer January 17, 2014 11:25 am

Date, location still to be determined

The Eastern Oregon Beer Festival will soon be coming to La Grande.

That was the name decided by event organizers at a meeting Thursday night.

La Grande Main Street Downtown is launching the festival this year with hopes of it becoming a mainstay that will provide stable funding to LGMS for years to come.

The current coordinator position is paid for by the Resource Assistance for Rural Environments program, part of AmeriCorps, but officials have said the program will not be available for LGMS for many more years.

Though organizers decided on a name for the event, a date and location are still up in the air. A date previously chosen conflicts with other events happening in the area. Volunteers working to organize the festival decided Thursday night to check into using the Union County Fairgrounds and the National Guard Armory on a couple of dates in early June.

Jeff Dense, an Eastern Oregon University political science professor and beer enthusiast who is helping LGMS with the event, stressed at the meeting how important it is to find a space that will allow room for growth and a long-term vision. He also said that college students are not the target demographic for the event.

“You want to get new people to come to town,” he said.

Dense told the other volunteers that the festival likely will require 16  kegs of beer, which will be the most expensive aspect of the beer fest. Working from a limited budget, LGMS Coordinator Saira Siddiqui created a committee to look into sponsorships.

Other ideas floated include a home brew contest and live music toward the end of the one-day event.

Volunteers will regroup at 6 p.m. Jan. 30  at a location to be determined.