TEMPLE TERRACE — A Rotarian proposal, instant buy-in from city officials, and the welcomed assistance of a married couple — each with a separate but essential level of expertise on the subject — helped set the stage for what has become one of the city's most highly-attended annual events.
The Temple Terrace Craft BrewFest, celebrates its third year from 4-8 p.m. on Saturday (May 13) at Woodmont Park, 415 Woodmont Ave. The event drew close to 1,200 people last year from more than 50 different zip codes.
Hosted by the Temple Terrace Rotary Club, in partnership with the City of Temple Terrace and Ward Mitchell Civil Trial Attorneys, the upcoming event will feature about 30 local craft brewers with more than 70 different beers.
Rotarian Nick Strippoli originally pitched the fundraising idea after he attended a similar event elsewhere and prior to his leaving the club due to an out-of-town job transfer.
It was seen as a means to bring non-residents to the city for a good time while benefitting some of the club's charities including Rotary's Camp Florida, CAIRFlight and the Bridge at the University of South Florida.
However, a major obstacle needed to be overcome: most of the club's Rotarians knew little about the Tampa Bay area's burgeoning craft brew industry.
Fortunately, Temple Terrace Rotarian Cheri Donohue, also a city councilwoman and a person many consider an event planner guru, and her husband, Mike Donohue, a retired Hillsborough School District administrator, who has a keen interest and a high level of knowledge about craft beers and the area's brewers, stepped in to lend a hand.
In fact, Cheri Donohue offered to chair the committee.
"The only reason I have the confidence to do it is because my husband is a craft beer connoisseur," she said. "Everywhere we go he wants to check on the local brewers."
Mike Donohue concurred, calling his wife "a good sport" for always tagging along and even acquiring a taste for several of the craft beers she's sampled in the Tampa Bay area and during their out-of-state travels to visit their children and grandchildren.
"Once you've had craft beer you realize that life's too short to drink a Miller Lite," he said. "It's funny, too, because my son says, 'Dad you're becoming sort of a hophead,' but in nice way."
David Doble, a partner in the family-owned Tampa Bay Brewing Company, said craft breweries typically seek ways to support their communities.
For the third year, he and others representing his company, will participate in the Temple Terrace Craft BrewFest.
The family- and leashed-pet-friendly event also will feature two local live bands, unique beer-food pairings courtesy of the Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club, and six food trucks with an array of eats meant to please almost any palate.
In addition, a small area of the park is going to be earmarked for some game-playing, compliments of Greaves Construction, a remodeling company that's been based in Temple Terrace for 30 years. There will be games of both skill and chance and winners will take home "valuable" prizes, according to Jon Greaves, the company's owner.
"My daughter is in a home brew club that creates amazing craft beers and we thought this would be fun," he said. "It's also a way to get a little exposure for Greaves Construction and help in the fundraising effort."
Attorney Ken Ward, one of the principals of title sponsor Ward-Mitchel Civil Trial Attorneys, said the event has an added bonus for a city that often talks about redevelopment and renewal.
"This event is extra special because it draws many of the younger generation to our city, many of whom have no idea how beautiful and friendly our city is," Ward said. "It's also a ton of fun for all of the older generation Temple Terrace natives."
City administrators, who'd coincidentally launched a marketing blitz to attract more outsiders to Temple Terrace about the same time the brew fest was under discussion, today consider it a signature event for the community.
"BrewFest has brought a lot of additional exposure to Temple Terrace because it is drawing people from throughout the region," city spokesman Mike Dunn said. "People who think Temple Terrace is just 56th Street arrive at the festival and see Woodmont Park and how beautiful the neighborhood is, and they suddenly realize there's a lot more to Temple Terrace than they thought."
Contact Joyce McKenzie at [email protected]com.