With Monday’s announcement by Governor Mark Gordon that the state’s current public health orders would be extended through July 15, the Lander Chamber of Commerce has decided to cancel Brewfest 2020.
“It’s a disappointment; no doubt about it,” said Owen Sweeney, the Chamber’s Executive Director. “We held out as long as we thought we could. Just two weeks ago, we thought there was a reasonable hope that the 250 cap on outdoor event attendance might be lifted. But when the stories of all the new COVID-19 surges began hitting the news, we knew things didn’t look good.”
Initially scheduled for the second weekend in June, the Chamber announced in April that it would postpone Brewfest in the hope of preventing an outright cancellation. “Once the initial public health orders came out, our ability to plan was hamstrung, and when you’re dealing with an event with so many moving parts, and add to it multiple levels of health requirements, it’s impossible to provide anyone with any certainty or deliver the true Brewfest experience,” noted Sweeney.
“For three months the Chamber staff has explored creative and reasonable options to ensure Brewfest could successfully be held this summer,” said Michelle Mazur, Lander Chamber Board President and Owner of Elevate Rehab. “Unfortunately, given the current COVID-19 environment and health regulations, we have decided hosting such a popular and quality event within the guidelines was not feasible.”
Sweeney teased that the Chamber had a new wrinkle it wanted to incorporate into Brewfest 2020 and that he wished that he didn’t have to wait until 2021 to test it.
What was that new wrinkle?
Kelsey Ball, the Chamber’s Events & Programs Coordinator, explained, “Brewfest is a celebration of a legitimate craft. Our brewers take their work seriously, and we do, too. We thought it would be neat to pair chefs from our local restaurants with producers from the growing local food movement and then connect them with particular brewers to offer suggested food and beer pairings. We think it’s a good fit, and the enthusiastic responses we received about the idea from locals as well as from the Wyoming Craft Brewers Guild told us that we were onto something. We’re eager to see what happens in 2021 with more time to plan.”
Matt Reed, General Manager of Fremont Toyota Lander, title sponsor of Lander Brewfest, promised their continued support. “Owen told me about the decision, which we understand. We’ll just have to make sure Brewfest 2021 is even bigger and better. We’ll be there!”