With Hemming Park’s first beer festival just a little over a week away, we caught up with Jim Webb, the mastermind behind the event. In a park that has seen a number of high-profile events like the monthly Art Walk, the highly successful Gastrofest and, of course, One Spark, putting together a beer festival seemed only natural.
Jax Beer Guy: How did the festival come about? What was the impetus to its creation?
Jim Webb: This festival just kind of evolved. I coordinate the alcohol in Hemming Park, but for the park and for DVI for Art Walk, and with the success of GastroFest, a bunch of us just figured an all beer festival would be fun.
JBG: What are you most excited about concerning the festival?
JW: I am most excited about bringing small brands to the festival that haven’t had much exposure here in Jacksonville yet. Kind of a reverse local, e.g., I would think it would be fun for someone up in Virginia to bring in Bold City Beer to a festival and showcase that brand to a totally new set of customers and fans.
JBG: How will the proceeds from the festival be used?
JW: All of the proceeds of the festival will be donated to the Friends of Hemming Park. Several breweries have sponsored a lot of the costs of the event (for example) Einstok from Iceland is sponsoring the four tons of ice that will be needed to keep everything cool.
JBG: What is your vision for the future of this festival and other beer festivals that may take place in the park in the future?
JW: As for the future of this and other festivals, we hope to grow them yearly and I would love to see a weekend event with a lot more food and other attractions, food demos, beer making talks etc. But first year, we are keeping it simple. We are also in talks with having a wine festival as well as a bourbon festival plus I am really trying to herd the various Florida distilleries into a festival of Florida liquors.
The festival takes place Saturday, August 15 from Tickets for the event are $40 for General Admission and $60 for VIP. Designated driver tickets are also available for $10 and include admission to the festival and unlimited soft drinks. VIP ticket-holders are admitted to the festival at 5:00 p.m. and have access to a special VIP lounge with seating and other surprises. To purchase tickets click the following link: https://squareup.com/market/hemmingpark#category-79284b45-5f93-4bfe-ac43-ebe475b1fade.