More than 200 supporters turned out for the third annual Fest of Ale on Friday (October 18) at the Holiday Inn City Center in downtown Fort Smith.
Benefiting Girls Inc., the event featured nearly 100 different ale and beer varieties, and dozens of delicious entrees and appetizers from area restaurants.
Local distributors provided samples of some of their classic brews, as well as a variety of seasonal and specialty beers and ales. Unique flavors included fruit and holiday blends, such as Sam Adams White Christmas, Angry Orchard Apple Cider, and Shiner Creer. Representatives from each of the vendors were on-hand to answer questions about each brew and to offer tasting suggestions.
Several area restaurants were also in attendance, offering guests tastes of some of their most classic dishes. Guests could fill their plates with everything from pizza, ribs, and BBQ sandwiches, to tamales and loaded potato skins.
In the VIP section, ticket holders could sample exclusive appetizers, created by the chefs at 21 West End in Fort Smith. Selections included a ginger chicken satay with spicy peanut sauce and mini caprese salad skewers.
A special wine tasting, featuring Albert Bichot wines, was also held in the VIP section. Tasting expert Nico Coullenot was in attendance sharing information about each bottle and helping guests with their wine choices.
In addition to the food and drink sampling, guests could take part in the small silent auction or purchase tickets for the chance to win a 50/50 drawing. Tickets were individually sold for $5 or five for $20. Special “Fest of Ale” commemorative mugs and t-shirts were also for sale at the registration table.
Local group “Sweet & Lowdown” returned this year to the Fest of Ale. Guests took to the dance floor as the trio performed a number of recent and classic hits.
New to this year’s event was the addition of a special cigar area. A smoking tent was set up just outside the hotel lobby for guests to enjoy their favorite stogie.
In 2012, Fest of Ale raised nearly $10,000 for the club. Organizers’ goal for this year was to hit the $15,000 mark.
“Fest of Ale is our largest annual fundraiser, and this year’s is our best to date,” said Amanda Daniels, Executive Director of Girls, Inc. “We are so grateful to all of the board members, volunteers, sponsors and vendors who helped make this event such a success.”
All proceeds from the event support Girls Inc.’s after-school programming and outreach initiatives with local schools.
In operation for nearly 80 years, the club is “committed to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold.” It accomplishes this by “believing in girls’ rights and abilities and providing an experience for them based around six essential elements: a girls-only environment, mentoring relationships, intentional programming, research-based curricula, interactive activities, and sustained exposure.”
For more information about Girls Inc., call 782-0375.