Hops fest an overflowing success

October 5, 2011

Whether you are a beer enthusiast or not, you probably noticed the hubbub of people and traffic downtown on Saturday in honor of "Hood River Hops Fest 2011."

Highlights? Thirty-eight breweries; seven food vendors; good weather; arts and crafts; low admission costs and foot-stomping music. No wonder the crowds were out in droves.

"We estimate attendance was at about 8,000 people," said Kerry Cobb, executive director of the Hood River Chamber of Commerce, when asked about the turn-out during this year's good weather event.

"We increased our revenue by 35 percent - far exceeding what we expected," she said.

The chamber took over full leadership of the event this year, implementing changes in strategy and execution - changes that apparently paid off.

Everyone entering the festival area was charged a fee, either $6 for those sampling beers, or $4 for designated drivers who remained alcohol-free but were allowed non-alcoholic refreshments.

The elimination of "no-pay/non-drinking" entrants seemed to eliminate the previous mug-sharing phenomenon of years past, most likely adding to the increased revenue figures.

"Also the city - (City Manager) Bob Francis - allowed us to set up tents and fences the day before, so things were more relaxed Saturday morning," said Cobb.

Cobb credits Nancy Carlson, this year's chamber festival event coordinator, for the success in meeting chamber goals of increased revenue and improved safety and security.

Another significant goal, according to Cobb, was to direct festival visitor activity into the downtown small-business zone.

"We really marketed that aspect of the festival this year way ahead of time," said Cobb. "We directed people to go into town for coffee, dinner and shopping."

Business owners have already reported back to the chamber that the effects of that marketing, and the option for "Hop-Festees" to come and go from event grounds, created more traffic and sales in the areas adjacent to the site.

Maija Yasui, Hood River County Commission on Children and Families Alcohol and Drug Prevention Coordinator, also reported positive results of this year's event.

"We did not see obviously inebriated people at the festival," she said. "The volunteer pourers were well-trained and were being true to the 2-ounce pour rule."

Overall, fewer beer samples are being offered as part of the admission price, but neither Yasui nor Cobb heard complaints.

"People were really enjoying themselves. Both the event organizers and the breweries themselves want to have this to be a fun and safe event," said Yasui.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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