Brownsville Beerfest to celebrate 10-year anniversary this Saturday

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Servers and customers are shown at a past Brownsville Beerfest. This year’s event takes place on Oct. 7 in Dean Porter Park. (Courtesy photo)

Brownsville Beerfest celebrates its 10th anniversary on Oct. 7 in Dean Porter Park, with more than 100 craft beers available for sampling and domestic beers available as well.

The party runs from 6 p.m. to midnight.

It would have been the 11th annual Beerfest had COVID not caused it to be canceled in 2020. Luis Urquieta, serving his second term as president of Brownsville Beer Fest LLC, which puts on the event each year, said the goal is to grow it back to and beyond its peak of 5,500 tickets sold a year or two before the pandemic. Ticket sales were robust last year, he noted.

“We’re ramping back up since the COVID years,” Urquieta said. “It really kind of threw a wrench in our growth there. But last year we were able to bring it back up to about 3,800, 3900 attendees. We almost hit that 4,000 mark.”

Beerfest donates 15 to 20% of the revenue it brings in each year to nonprofits, with the rest going toward putting on the following year’s event. Past nonprofit recipients include Brownsville Sting, Brownsville Junior League, CPS Rainbow Room, Tip of Texas Family Outreach, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Accounting Association and the UTRGV German Club.

Beer Fest LLC was founded in 2013 by Alex Cantu, Reggie Corona, Eliseo Davila, Juan Carlos Hinojosa, Ricardo Rios, Sunil Rupani and Arturo Trevino with the idea of creating an event that would grow into a “big city” festival while helping the local community, Urquieta said.

Beerfest always features three acts, kicking off this year with local 1980s cover band The Spinoffs, he said.

“We do one local or regional act,”Urquieta said. “We try to show love to some of the local bands.”

Next up is DJ Rayburger from Dallas, mixing Latino and electronic dance music, then the Emo Kids, a late 1990s/early 2000s emo cover band from California.

General admission tickets are $40 and include seven beer samples, games, tournaments, raffles and more. VIP tickets are $100 and include all that plus bonus beer and food, a swag bag, a commemorative pint glass, seating close to the stage and VIP restrooms. Tickets are available at bbftx.com.

Dean Porter Park will be closed to cars during the event, though some parking will be available nearby. Some attendees park farther away and walk, while “a lot of people Uber,” Urquieta said.

“We actually have a $10 coupon for everybody that wants to Uber to and from the festival,” he said. “We want everybody to be responsible after they leave Beerfest.”

Back in 2013, the first Beerfest, tucked into a corner of Dean Porter Park between the pavilion and the Children’s Museum, attracted a few hundred or maybe 1,000 people. Attendance has grown dramatically over the years and Urquieta wants to continue the trend. The more people buy tickets to Beerfest, the more that 15 or 20% in donations benefits the community, he said.

“Of course we want to have a successful event so that we’re able to turn around and give a portion of our proceeds to nonprofits in the city, in our own community,” Urquieta said.

How it works is that Beerfest has a “volunteer portal” for nonprofits to help out the day of the event. Volunteers sign up for a beer shift, merchandise table, the gate or whatever.

“All these organizations sign up for their shift, and then in return we calculate their help and we donate a percentage of our proceeds back to these nonprofits,” Urquieta said.

Some of those organizations have been helping out at Beerfest for years, he noted.

“We just want to give the community a good party to enjoy and in return we can help out some of our nonprofits,” Urquieta said. “There’s some of them that have been with us since year one. Without all those volunteers, we really can’t run that festival.”


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