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Raley Field was home to its Sixth-Annual Brewfest on Friday evening. Over 55 breweries from all over California set up tasting stations along the outfield wall of the baseball field. Patrons sat on the pristine outfield grass, tasting beer samples and enjoying barbequed food.
The Raley Field Brewfest is a joint venture by Raley Field and the Northern California Brewer's Guild and drew over 2.500 prepaid admissions. Additional patrons purchased tickets during the event. VIP admissions entered an hour earlier than the general admissions, and the VIPs also received additional tasting tickets. Each patron received a souvenir four-ounce tasting mug for sampling the various ales, lagers, stouts, ciders and other creative blends.
During the VIP hour, a steady stream of people entered the field and mingled with the brewery staff. Once the general admission gates opened, the field became noticeably busier. The lines for food purchases were the longest, with many of the brewery tents crowded several people deep.
The Remedies, a local band, played live music on the field.
Previous brewfests were held on the concourse area at Raley Field; this is the first year the event was set up on the playing field. Events and Entertainment Coordinator, Samantha Klasing said the new layout was a big improvement. She said, "Last year the event started expanding and we knew we needed more room. We also like the aspect of having the event down on the field. It's very unique. How many times can you go to a brewfest that's on a premiere baseball field like Raley Field?"
Thor and Ebony Benzing live in West Sacramento next to Raley Field and were attending the brewfest for their first time. Thor said, "This is our first time here. Since we live next door, we decided we should come over." Ebony mentioned a tasting she enjoyed. She said, "I really liked the Vixen by the Riley's Brewery. It was a dark wheat ale and it was really good."
When asked how they liked having Raley Field as a neighbor, Thor responded, "It's great. Other than the fireworks at the Saturday night games, you really don't hear much. Coming to the games and events here have been great."
Andrew Mandelik won his tickets on a radio station contest Friday morning. He said, "I called in and won and I didn't know what the prize was until I picked up the tickets. This turned out perfect." Mandelik was sporting the best-groomed mustache in the crowd.
As the event continued, the sun set and the field lights came on, creating a warm glow on the crowd.
Standing on the concourse above the festivities, Klasing said, "It's been a lot of hard work and preparation. Seeing people enjoy themselves is awesome."
Photos by Ron Nabity.