by Andrew Kulyk
Soak up the Ballpark Brew Bash this Saturday
Many locals are already familiar with the National Buffalo Wing Festival, our community’s celebration of arguably our greatest gastronomic gift to the world. Every Labor Day weekend, tens of thousands of hungry patrons descend on Coca Cola Field in downtown Buffalo to enjoy food, fun, and entertainment.
So building on that tradition and success, the Buffalo Bisons will be opening the doors to the ballpark for another downtown event. This one is the Ballpark Brew Bash, which is being billed as “a celebration of craft brewed beers, local foods and everything Western New York.”
The event is set to take place next Saturday, October 16, at Coca Cola Field, 2-6pm.
For the Bisons this is really nothing new, as they have hosted many a non baseball event over the years, opening the venue up to a myriad of diverse programs. “Our owners Bob and Mindy Rich want to see first, that this remain a top-notch facility in all of minor league baseball. A part of having that is having this ballpark available to the community for all sorts of things, not just baseball, but for concerts, to have the Wing Fest, to have several charity walks. We are lucky enough to have a beautiful ballpark and we want to use it for more than 72 nights out of the year,” says Brad Bisbing, Bisons director of public relations.
The Bisons have teamed up with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as the beneficiary of this event, with net proceeds benefiting the charity. “We felt it would be a good partnership and a deserving one, and one that is also very close to the Rich family,” says Robert Free, Bisons director of food service operations and coordinator of the Brew Bash.
Admission to the event is $25, and each guest will receive a commemorative beer mug, and 20 tickets, each valid for a three-ounce beer sample from any one of the 13 participating breweries, including local brewers such as the Flying Bison, Southern Tier, Ellicottville, and Pearl Street brewers. “We will have tasting stations available throughout the ballpark, including areas that aren’t normally open to the general public, such as our new S.L.R. Suite on the club level, the press box and the team club house on the service level,” says Free. Additional brew locations will be in the centerfield pavilion, in Pettibones restaurant, and throughout the concourses.
But there will be much, much more. “In the Pettibones area we will have a 32-foot display of Buffalo brewery memorabilia, courtesy of the Peter Jablonski collection,” says Bisbing. “Buffalo has such a great beer-making history, especially with its two great former breweries Simon Pure and Iroquois, and locals will appreciate the stuff that will be on display at the Brew Fest.”
Local celebrity Drew Cerza, Buffalo’s “Wing King,” will also be on hand preparing chicken wings and his own specialty chicken wing soup. “Food will also a big part of the event,” says Free. “We have invited a number of Buffalo specialty food vendors who will be selling their wares throughout the ballpark, so this is a good chance to come hungry as well and wash it all down with some suds.”
There will also be a silent auction in Pettibones, with all proceeds going to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
“It will definitely have a Buffalo feel. This will not be an ordinary cookie cutter beer fest,” says Free. “We want to give a nod to our great brewing past, our talented local beer makers, and some great Western New York food. It should be a great time and will support a great cause. We hope to have everyone down here.”
Ballpark Brew Bash
Saturday, October 16
Coca-Cola Field, 2-6pm
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