Music, food and lots and lots of Colorado beer will fill Salida’s Riverside Park this weekend.
The 23rd annual Colorado Brewers Rendezvous will take place from 1-5 p.m. Saturday with an almost sold-out Pre-Vous happening from 6-8:30 p.m. Friday.
“We look forward to it; it’s always fun,” Lori Roberts, Heart of the Rockies Chamber of Commerce executive director, said. “People are here for the right reasons and seem to genuinely have a good time; it’s a nice day at Riverside Park.”
This year, 75 breweries from around Colorado will be serving their concoctions for visitors to try in unlimited tastings in their 5-ounce commemorative glasses. The breweries, who won a lottery to attend the event, all belong to the Colorado Brewers Guild, which co-hosts the event with the chamber.
Several local breweries, however, are promised a spot since this is their event, including Eddyline Brewery, Elevation Beer Co., Moonlight Pizza & Brewpub and Soulcraft Brewing.
“The brewers say every year that this is one of their favorite events,” Roberts said. “They love it because it’s not a competition; it’s a real celebration for them to get together.”
The brewery representatives all get T-shirts and lunch and are invited to go rafting after the festival on Sunday. The brewers also attend serious meetings with the guild while they’re in town, discussing legislation affecting the craft beer industry.
By attending the Pre-Vous, or by gaining entry to the festival at noon with a VIP ticket, beer lovers also get a good opportunity to speak with the people who make the brews.
At the Pre-Vous, which is back for a second year, 20 breweries will serve suds that won’t be available Saturday. With space limited to a 100 people, it also offers a more intimate experience. This year’s Pre-Vous will take place at the Salida Rotary Scout Hut. The Biker and The Baker will cater the Pre-Vous
In addition to gaining entry to the festival an hour early, VIPs can enjoy an expanded lounge in the shade with masseuses and more furniture this year. They also get T-shirt and lunch vouchers and will have their own bathrooms.
Both the Pre-Vous and the VIP tickets were almost sold out by Monday afternoon.
Two bands will also perform at Brewers Rendezvous. Big Horn will take the stage from 12:30-2:30 p.m., and Fembot will perform from 3-5 p.m.
Food vendors at the event will include Whitewater Wraps, The Divide, Sonny’s, Gosar Ranch Natural Foods and Blue Truck Ice Cream.
The Montrose Water Factory is also sponsoring water for people at the festival.
“We go through a ton of water,” Roberts said. “Our concern is that our guests leave not inebriated.”
Around 3,000 people typically attend the festival. Dogs, however, are not allowed in Riverside Park.
Joyful Journey, Monarch Mountain and High Country Bank are also helping sponsor the event.
Local chamber member and artist Jared Jacob, of Sunday Lounge, designed the festival’s logo of a trout and a beer glass. The logo will be featured on merchandise for sale at the event, such as T-shirts.
“He’s been doing our artwork for years and it’s always so well received,” Roberts said.
Tickets for Brewers Rendezvous can be purchased Saturday at the event or in advance at salidachamber.org.
Not including fees, advance ticket prices are $50 for general admission, a VIP ticket is $110, the Pre-Vous is $40, and designated drivers can gain access to the festival’s vendors and music for $15.
The event is the chamber’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and the proceeds go back to the chamber to help market Salida businesses.