With an eye towards community care and safety, the Missoula Downtown Association has made the decision to cancel the 28th annual Garden City BrewFest for now. Originally slated for Saturday, May 2, 2020, the oldest-standing brewfest in the State of Montana was relocated to Saturday, June 20. Given the current Phase 2 Guidelines for Reopening, the MDA has made the decision to not hold the event in June.
“Garden City BrewFest is typically the launch of summer with thousands of Missoulians coming to Caras Park to enjoy the comradery that makes Missoula such a unique place,” said Bob McGowan, President of the Missoula Downtown Association Board of Directors. “We recognize brewfest events generally bring people into close proximity with a lot of shared touching and refilling of glasses. We have a responsibility to care for our community, so we’ve decided to let go of Garden City BrewFest at this time.”
Garden City BrewFest typically draws about 3,500 attendees each year. Funds generated at the event help fund the MDA’s non-revenue generating programs such as the flower baskets, holiday décor, marketing, planning and advocacy. The event offers sampling of over 70 different beers, wine and seltzers, alongside live music from three different local bands. Each year the Zoo City Zymurgists – Missoula’s local home brewing club – oversees the beer judging and awards program.
Originally conceived as B.R.I.W. Fest in 1993, this event was created by a partnership of Bayern Brewing Company, the Rhino, the Iron Horse and Worden’s Market. It was the first event to offer sampling of microbeers in the modern era of Montana. Gifted to the Missoula Downtown Association in 2003. The event has grown to be the largest and most-recognized beer event in Montana.
“This is a difficult decision for our organization,” said McGowan. “However, it’s the right decision in this moment.”
For more information on Garden City BrewFest or other Caras Park events, call the Downtown Missoula Partnership office at 406-543-4238.