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Updated: September 1, 2023

Skowhegan Craft Brew Festival moves to riverfront

People at festival Courtesy / Main Street Skowhegan The annual Skowhegan Craft Brew Festival typically attracts around 1,300 attendees. Shown here is last year's event.

The annual Skowhegan Craft Brew Festival is scheduled for this Saturday at a new venue overlooking the Kennebec River.

Touted as the state’s only festival featuring exclusively Maine libations, the event has taken place for the last six years on Water Street. That location required shutting traffic down for most of the day on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend. 

This year, festival organizers at Main Street Skowhegan wanted to consider alternative options that would bring even more foot traffic to locally owned, downtown businesses before and during the festival, while also eliminating the need to shut down traffic around Skowhegan’s rotary, the intersection of U.S. Routes 2 and 201. 

Kristina Cannon
File Photo / Tim Greenway
Kristina Cannon

“The goal of the brew festival is to bring people to Skowhegan who will spend money at our local merchants and who will want to come back to our town time and again,” said Kristina Cannon, president and CEO Main Street Skowhegan.

“By opening up more on-street parking and hosting the event in the most beautiful part of town — along the breathtaking Kennebec Gorge — we’ll help drive more sales for business while showcasing our greatest asset.” 

Cannon, who was honored on the Mainebiz Next list in 2019, told Mainebiz that generally around 1,300 people attend the annual gathering.

Cannon and her team polled downtown business owners before making the final request to the municipality to move the festival to the riverfront lot. 

With the vast majority of business owners preferring the new riverfront location, Main Street Skowhegan said the decision was easy.

“We are happy to see the riverfront being utilized and are excited for the change,” said Amanda White, owner of Key Appliance, at 101 Water St. 

And Billie Clark, owner of the Unwined wine bar at 151 Water St., said, “I think [the new location] will hugely increase my sales for the day."

30 brewers expected

With nearly 30 brewers anticipated on Saturday, the event will kick off with a VIP hour at 2 p.m. featuring free local food samples and specialty brews not available during the general session.

The general session will include more than 100 different Maine-crafted beer, wine, cider and spirits for sampling. Merchants will offer a variety of festival fare, including wood-fired pizza with all local ingredients, poutine and other indulgent delights.

Live music from solo acts Thomas LeClerk and Adam Babcock will entertain during VIP hour. River Bottom Funk and local favorite Middle Ground will play from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on opposite ends of the festival.

The Skowhegan Craft Brew Festival is coordinated by nonprofit Main Street Skowhegan, and all proceeds benefit ongoing revitalization efforts in Skowhegan.

Leading sponsors include Skowhegan Savings Bank, Maine Grains, Animal Medical Clinic, Ware Butler, Butler’s Car Wash, Damon’s Beverage Mart, DuBois Construction, Franklin Savings Bank, the Hight Family of Dealerships, Key Appliance, Short Circuit Electric, 201 Service, Maine Roof Solutions and Redington-Fairview General Hospital.

“We are excited to host the event in the new location and feel it’s a win-win for all involved,” Cannon said.

More information 

Find out more about the festival and buy tickets here.

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