For many people, one of the most anticipated times of the year in the Pacific Northwest is the transition of seasons from summer to fall.
From the hot muggy days of summer on the Washington coast to the brisk autumn nights, travelers and locals alike often rave about trees turning color and special fall-themed activities. In one East County town, a celebration allows people to ring in the start of the fall season: the Monte Brew Festival.
Often held on the first weekend following the transition from summer to fall, the Monte Brew Festival, which is hosted by the Montesano Chamber of Commerce, is a local tradition for the people of Montesano. Dating back to the early 2010s, the Monte Brew Festival allows businesses and breweries to come together to host a community get-together to kick off the fall season in a relaxed format filled with games, music, food, and adult beverages.
Jason Atwood, who works for the Montesano Chamber of Commerce and serves as the lead event planner for the Monte Brew Festival, said a lot of work goes into planning the 2022 Monte Brew Festival. But, he added, it’s a great opportunity for people to get out and enjoy the change of seasons.
“The Monte Brew Festival is just a fun lighthearted opportunity for the people of Montesano, and the rest of Grays Harbor to come out and support local businesses and enjoy some of the popular breweries that populate throughout the Harbor,” Atwood said.
As for the participating breweries that people can enjoy, Willapa Brewing Company, Hoquiam Brewing Company Inc., Mount Olympus Brewing Company and Wild Man Brewing Company have commited to this year’s brew festival. Live music will play throughout the event, featuring Justin Kautzman, Daniel Walker and The Six.
Atwood, who has organized the Monte Brew Fest for the last four years, said this year’s event is going to be held on 1st Street and Marcy Street and that all of the brewers will be stationed inside Whitney’s Detail Shop. He also said one of the most popular events of the Monte Brew Festival will be the cornhole tournament that will take place in Fleet Park.
“The cornhole tournament we do every year is one of the anticipated events that get the community excited. We pretty much have 20 to 25 teams of two that will compete against each other in a bracket-style competition until there is a winning team in the championship round,” Atwood said with a laugh.
“The winning team gets a cash prize of an amount that we haven’t decided on yet but will be enticing.”
According to Atwood, last year’s amount was somewhere around $500. He said that he hopes this year’s reward is the same if not hopefully bigger. Registration and practice time for participating in the two-person team cornhole tournament will begin at 1 p.m. and will cost $20.
When asked about the attendance of the festival, Atwood says that it’s normal to see hundreds if not close to a thousand people attend the event.
He pointed out that last year’s event was smaller than normal given that there was still a lot of uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that came with public gatherings. Atwood said with this year looking to be the most normal since the pandemic began, he’s thrilled to see the attention the Monte Brew Festival receives.
One of the excited attendees of the festival is none other than Vini Samuel, the mayor of Montesano. She said this festival is one of the city’s biggest attractions of the fall season.
“Outside of the Festival of Lights, the Monte Brew Festival is one of the top events for our historic city. I’m excited to be a part of it and I can’t wait to spend time with the people that we share this beautiful community with,” Samuel said.
While preparations are still underway, sponsoring businesses, such as Premier Reality and Whitney’s Detail Shop are pitching in to help set up the festival.
“The businesses of Montesano and Grays Harbor County are extremely important in helping us set up the Monte Brew Festival. Last year we had live music playing out of Pub Monte,” Atwood said. “I know Mount Olympus Brewery are going to be big contributors, we just have to iron out the rest of the details.”
For people who are interested in attending the Monte Brew Festival, presale tickets are available now for $20 and day-of tickets will be $25. The first 200 tickets sold will include a souvenir cup and all guests must be at least 21 years of age to attend. The Monte Brew Festival is scheduled to be held on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 2 p.m. located at Whitney’s Auto Detail in Montesano.