Friends sharing food, beer, and wine. (Photo by Vittorio Gravino / iStock via Getty Images Plus)

Tickets on sale for beloved annual Bayfield fundraiser

Tickets are now on sale for the beloved Beer, Wine, and Food Festival in Bayfield.

This year, it will take place on May 11 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., taking feedback from previous years to improve.

"We've had some great reviews," said Bill Whetstone, event organizer and Bluewater councillor. "The first year, we had I think 700 people, then we went up to 1,200 pretty much every year after that and sold out. Unfortunately that number has dropped a little bit."

Whetstone mentioned some event goers found the music too loud and in 2023, the event ran out of food.

"We're bringing in some acoustic specialists to help out with that and make sure it's enjoyable for everybody," he said. "Last year, we ran out of food, so we're bringing in a couple more food vendors this year to make sure we don't have that issue going forward."

The event offers alcoholic beverage and food samples from various wineries, distilleries, and craft breweries in Huron County. This will be the ninth year it has been running.

"The purpose of the festival was actually operated by a nonprofit organization that runs the community centre in Bayfield," said Whetstone. "All the money goes right back into the community centre to keep it going, to allow kids to keep playing, the cost to stay down. Everybody can continue to play sports and even try sports if they didn't have the opportunity to."

In 2018, the Municipality of Bluewater pulled funding for the arena, meaning the town relied on fundraising more heavily.

Whetstone said the event is treated like a homecoming for many, as attendees come from London, Kincardine, Kitchener, and beyond.

When it comes to festivals surrounding alcohol, Whetstone said transportation is all under control.

"We provide a taxi service, we will have a number there that you can call," he said. "We will always have somebody on standby. The intention is to make sure this is an event that no one gets hurt at and no one needs to be driving home when they've had too much to drink. We're very cognizant about that and are making sure that is put in place."

Tickets are $45 and that amount gets you eight food and eight drink sample tickets. More are available for purchase on site for those wanting more.

Tickets can be purchased at River Road Brewing and Hops, Bayfield Brewing Company, Shopbike Coffee Roasters, Bad Apple Brewing Company, or through Whetstone.

Whetstone extended a big thank you to the Little Inn and the White Squirrel Golf Club for sponsoring the event and helping to foot the rising costs to hold the Beer, Wine, and Food Festival.

More information can be found on the Bayfield Beer and Food Festival Facebook page.

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