PORT ANGELES — Frosty mugs of craft beer, artwork and live entertainment are being brewed this weekend during the second annual Arts &Draughts Festival in downtown Port Angeles.
This year’s festival, presented by the Port Angeles Downtown Association, will take place on Laurel Street between First Street and Railroad Avenue.
The festival will kick off at 7 tonight with a free concert at the festival stage and continue through Sunday.
The weekend-long celebration will showcase local and regional artisans and craftspeople in the vendor row on Laurel Street, with local and regional beers and wines in the beer garden.
About 20 regional breweries, wineries and cideries are providing samples this year, according to event organizers.
In addition to the street fair that showcases hand-crafted merchandise and plenty of local food vendors, a gallery exhibition is set up in the basement of the former Bank of America building at the corner of Front and Laurel streets.
An opening-night reception is set from 7 to 9 tonight.
The gallery will be open during the regular hours of the festival, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Admission to the street fair is free. Tickets for the concert stage and beer garden are $25 in advance and are available online through today at artsanddraughts2016.brownpapertickets.com. Tickets will be sold at the festival for $30.
A $5 off coupon is available in Thursday’s PDN on page A6.
A ticket provides admission on both Saturday and Sunday. Single-day tickets are not being sold.
“If you come down on Saturday, you can use that for coming back again on Sunday as well,” said Richard Stephens, Port Angeles Downtown Association acting administrator and Arts &Draughts committee chair, this week.
“Your ticket gets you admission into the beer garden, and then you can buy tokens [with cash, debit card or check] that will get you tastings. Last year, we only had tasting with our beer and wine people on Saturday.”
This year, “you are going to get the experience both days with all the guests breweries and wineries,” Stephens said.
New this year, festival organizers are setting up a huge television on the festival stage and at 1:05 p.m. Sunday will show the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers.
Stephens said organizers received input in 2015 that more people would have attended that Sunday had a Seahawks game not been going on at the same time.
“That was something that we learned from last year,” he said.
“Now we have the Seahawks game on a giant LED screen. We are billing it as a huge tailgate party.”
The screen is 6 feet high by 13 feet wide and consists of 32 interconnectable LED video screens, Stephens said.
Live music will be a prominent feature in the festival, Stephens said, with live performances happening throughout the entirety of the festival and headlining concerts both tonight and Saturday. The concerts all will be on a stage located just north of the intersection at Laurel and First streets.
“This year, our stage is at First and Laurel Street, facing down toward the water,” Stephens said.
“They are going to be hearing us in Victoria,” he joked.
The lineup will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday, with 90-minute sets for each band.
”At 8 p.m., we are really excited about showcasing Jesse Roper, who is a very popular Canadian singer [and] outstanding guitar virtuoso,” Stephens said.
“He is just on the cusp of crossing over into America, big time. In a year and a half, everyone is going to know who this kid is, and we got him right at the right moment. It is going to be an amazing concert.”
During the festival, local artists and their work will be displayed at various exhibits, with gallery tours and live “art-in-the-making” demonstrations available for perusal, Stephens said.
There are 30 art vendors slated to be set up at the street fair, Stephens said, adding that visitors can peruse the street fair free of charge.
While the inaugural festival in 2015 was a success, this year promises to be even better, Stephens said.
“All of our tracking information is really good,” Stephens said.
“Our advance ticket sales are way up over last year. We’ve expanded our advertising and promotions, so we are promoting” beyond the North Olympic Peninsula.
In addition to promoting local breweries, cideries and wineries; showcasing artists; and acting as a fundraiser for the downtown association, the festival also provides a shot in the arm for the local economy as a whole, Stephens said.
“It is not just the vendors” that benefit, he said.
“We are encouraging people to get out and go explore downtown. Our members are all planning special sales and tie-in events. It is really great, not just for our vendors but for all of downtown.”
The festival is the spiritual successor to Arts in Action, Stephens said, an annual summer street fair organized for about 40 years by Nor’Wester Rotary.
During the past 15 or so years, Arts in Action took place on City Pier before being discontinued in 2014.
“When we were looking for a major fundraising event for the downtown association, the organizing committee of the Arts in Action [said] they were going to be closing down,” Stephens said.
“This has always been a big part of the local community, so we thought, could we do something that might harken back to the original roots of Arts in Action and put a new spin on it?”
Because beer and wine tourism has become ever more popular in recent years, “we thought this would be a really good way to showcase something that we have that has really grown a lot in the last five years: microbrewing and specialty brewing,” while also showcasing local artists, Stephens said.
“It seemed like the right confluence, and the reality is there is always something great arts-wise happening in Port Angeles,” he said.
“We are a year-round arts festival, and so this is a great way to kind of broadcast this to the greater community and surrounding area.”
For more, visit www.port angelesbeerfest.com.
Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.