By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
RAVENA — With the Friendship Festival — geared largely to children — in the rearview mirror, a village official set out to come up with a fun evening aimed at the adults.
Village Trustee Caitlin Appleby came up with the idea for the first-ever “Brews, Bites & Bands” event, complete with an Oktoberfest-like beer garden, live music and food trucks, all from local businesses.
The event took place Saturday evening at Mosher Park, with the beer garden fenced off inside the basketball courts and IDs checked as people filed in for the age 21-and-over festivities.
Food vendors were placed outside the beer garden so people of all ages, or those bringing younger people with them, could enjoy an evening meal and listen to the live music. There were picnic tables set up, fire pits for when the temperature dipped and a fall-themed photo opp area where people could take photos.
“We are bringing the community together for our first adult-only event,” Appleby said as the festivities got underway and people began lining up. “It’s going to be a good evening with a lot of local labor of love. We have good music, we have good food. Even if you don’t want to drink you can still come out and participate in the activities. It’s something fun to do for the community.”
Appleby, who has also organized the annual Friendship Festival in late August for years, got the idea when she was talking to her hairdresser and decided she wanted to do something for the grown-ups in the community.
Her hairdresser happens to be Tracy Douglas, who also co-owns Rail to River Brewing with her husband, Steven Douglas.
And so the idea for an Oktoberfest-like evening was born.
“It just happened very organically,” Appleby said.
Providing activities for the kids is important for the community, but Appleby wanted to make sure the adults had something fun to look forward to as well.
“I think it’s important to target our youth,” Appleby said. “I want them to love where they live, but the grown-ups are the ones that are making the decisions about where they live so I want them to love to live here, too. I think it’s important that they feel connected to the place where they live. Who knows what will spawn from tonight — there could be new friendships or new partnerships formed. I’m just excited to bring everyone together.”
The Douglas’ business, Rail to River Brewing, provided the brews and a line of customers quickly formed inside the beer garden as soon as it opened.
Tracy Douglas said she and Appleby teamed up to provide an evening geared to the adults in the community.
“We do a lot for kids with the Friendship Festival and other things, but we thought it would be great to get all of our adults together to get to know each other and weave the fabric of Ravena back together again,” Douglas said.
In addition to Rail to River Brewing that provided the suds, New Scotland Spirits was on hand selling bottles.
“We are sampling some of our whiskeys — they are all made from grains grown right on local farms in the town of New Scotland, including on our own farm,” said co-owner Rebecca Miller.