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Blackfly Brewfest on tap for Saturday in Houlton

HOULTON, Maine — Craft beer and wine enthusiasts will converge on the Shiretown this weekend for the fourth annual Blackfly Brewfest.

Held at the John A. Millar Civic Center in Houlton Community Park, the taps start flowing at 1 a.m. for VIP ticket holders, while the general admission ticket holders may enter at 2:30 p.m. The event concludes at 6 p.m.

Sponsored by the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce, with assistance from many local businesses, VIP tickets, which include an event T-shirt and access to several special craft brews and hors d’oeuvres, cost $55. General admission tickets are $35.

“We really look forward to this event,” said Jane Torres, executive director for the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce. “It is the only designated adults-only event that we do each year and this year we have managed to pull in some really big name brewers.”

Twenty-one breweries will be in attendance, offering samples of products, with more than 100 selections.

Patrons must be 21 years of age or older to attend and will receive an event tasting glass that can be taken from vendor-to-vendor to get 3-ounce samples of brews. There is no limit on how many samples a person may have. Water and soda will also be provided.

Last year’s event drew a large group into the community, with many of the visitors staying at local hotels, eating at restaurants, and buying gas for their return trip.

The idea for Houlton to host an event of this nature arose from local businessman Kent Good, owner of the Thirsty Dawg, and Houlton resident John White when the two attended a similar event in Mars Hill.

Silverton Sporting Ranch of Canaan will have a food truck on site for those wishing to purchase smoked barbecue selections. The Civic Center will also have concessions available to buy.

“It is a lot of work doing these brews and keeping up the momentum for smaller breweries,” Torres said. “This year, we are seeing bigger names, like Bissell Brothers (Brewing Company of Portland and Milo).”

In addition, several local brewers will be on hand, including Northern Maine Brewing Company and Hidden Spring Winery.

“We started this for the agricultural connection,” Torres said. “A lot of these brewers use maple syrup, honey and oats, which we have right here.”

One new event added to this year’s festival is a cornhole tournament. Cornhole is a bean bag game where players attempt to toss bags into a hole. Entry tickets may be purchased for $20/team. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. and the tournament starts promptly at 11 a.m. Prizes include several sets of custom-made Blackfly Brewfest Cornhole boards.

For more information, contact the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce at 532-4216 or visit https://blackflybrewfest.com/

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