With a sellout crowd, some 4,000 people lined up for samples at the first Small State Great Beer Festival in Hartford.
“I had a feeling it was going to be crowded. I did not think it was going to be this crowded at all,” says Kristen Evans of Vernon.
“It’s been fun. We’ve had some good beers,” says Tiffany Settino of Manchester.
Some 30 breweries from around the state were pouring their best for a thirsty crowd.
“Definitely a lot of young people,” says John Floyd of Hartford.
That’s just who festival organizers had hoped would show up.
The goal was event-goers would leave realizing things are improving downtown, but it takes people fighting for change.
“It really starts with an idea and then it’s the collective community of businesses and patrons together saying I want to be a part of this. I want to make this happen,” says Kyle Tripp, the event’s director of operations.
Area businesses supported the cause.
Some believe a one night investment could lead to future returns.
“It is important to bring people back in, you know, not just to come in and work. But come in and have fun,” says Rich Clemens, Black-Eyed Sally’s general manager.
Some who kicked back say they now call Hartford home, having left the suburbs.
“Our generation is much more cosmopolitan and wants to get things going in the city,” says Jen Palladino of Hartford.
“I’d like to encourage them to do more stuff like this. If they do, I think it will attract more young people and more people to kind of live down here,” says Tim Callahan of Hartford.
Organizers say they hope to make this an annual event.