Craft beer festival moves to Aurora

Tickets on sale now for event on Father’s Day weekend, June 17 to 18, in Machel Park, with local vendors, entertainment, activities

Aurora’s first craft beer festival is happening this June, presented by the producers of Newmarket’s popular festival beer.

The Community Craft Beer Festival event is set for Father’s Day weekend, June 17 to 18, in Machel Park, which is the same place where Aurora’s Ribfest is held.

Similar to the festival previously held in Newmarket, the Aurora Craft Beer Festival will feature a number of local breweries, food trucks, live entertainment and more.

“This is the Newmarket Craft Beer Festival that’s now taking place in Aurora. It’s the same event,” said organizer Michelle Planche.

The festival in Newmarket had been held at the Newmarket Community Center and in the parking lot there, however, it was unable to secure that space again this summer and would have had to move far out of the downtown core.

“We figured if we’re going to move, we might as well try to move to a park in Aurora,” Planche said.

The move is also in line with Planche’s original vision for the festival.

“It was always in my business plan to bring this event to multiple communities,” she said.

She said she hopes they will still attract the same crowd to the event in Aurora that they have enjoyed for the past few years in Newmarket.

The festival will kick off with a performance by Grace 2 celebrating the Tragically Hip on the Friday, followed by Bernadette Connors on Saturday afternoon, and a DJ and other live bands in the evening.

For the food and drink part of the festival, there will be more than 15 Ontario breweries offering small batch beers, ciders, wine and mead. There will also be more than 10 food trucks there so you can enjoy a meal with your drinks.

Vendors include Newmarket’s Red Thread Brewing Co., The George Brewing Co. and The Armory in Aurora.

There will also be activities, including human-sized foosball, pool, and a tent featuring informative sessions from leading industry experts.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online. You can buy tickets to attend one of the four-hour sessions — Friday from 6 to 10 pm, Saturday from noon to 4 pm, or Saturday from 6 to 10 pm — or you can buy an all weekend pass. The full festival pass is $55 and the session range from $25 to $30 until May 31, and then prices will go up.

Admission price includes two drink tokens and you can purchase more while there. Attendees are reminded to plan a safe ride home and don’t drink and drive.

While the summer festival has moved to Aurora, Planche is still planning to run a winter festival in Newmarket, similar to the one held in March at the Legion.

“Our intention is to go back to the community center and make the winter one even bigger. It will be equivalent and more central. It’s really important for us to be central,” she said.

Along with the recent move, Community Craft Beer Festival is expanding to other markets as well. Tickets are already on sale for a festival on July 15 and 16 in Prince Edward County and a one-day cask event is taking place in Durham on Sept. 10.

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