Big Muddy Monster Brewfest

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Our lager, that art in barrels, hallowed be thy foam.

Thy will be drunk (I will be drunk) at home as I am in taverns.

Give us this day our foamy head, and forgive us our spillage;

as we forgive those who spill against us.

And lead us not to incarceration, but deliver us from hangovers.

For thine is the beer, the ale, and the lager, now and forever more.

Barmen.

—Rev. Bobby Beerman from the Church of Beer: Blessed be the Brew

With a reciting of the beer prayer and a blessing of the beer by Rob Gallegly in his Reverend Bobby Beerman persona, this year’s Brewfest was started.

The sixth annual Big Muddy Monster Brewfest, hosted by the Friends of Murphysboro Foundation, was held at Riverside Park in Murphysboro on Saturday.

The Brewfest hosted over 40 breweries this year and featured Irish folk music from the bands Rusty Nail and Nine88.

Friends of Murphysboro organizes the Brewfest each October to bring people together in appreciation of quality, craft beer, while also raising money to improve Riverside Park.

“We use [Big Muddy Monster Brewfest] as a fundraiser and then we put it back into the park and the surrounding community” said Brandi Bradley who is Vice President of the Friends of Murphysboro planning board.

Bradley said the first Brewfest became an idea for Friends of Murphysboro after the successes of two of their other events: the Riverside Art & Wine Festival and the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail & Arts Festival.

The money raised by events like the Brewfest has been used to fund the construction of the Veterans Remembrance Walk and Dog Park in Riverside Park. It has also gone towards the general maintenance of structures around the park.

Patty Bateman, chairwoman of the Friends of Murphysboro planning board, said the foundation is so active in Riverside Park because they want to preserve its history and maintain the park as an active place to be.

Bateman said two key historical points to the park are the bandshell and the Chep Kessel Stadium, which were both constructed by the Works Projects Administration founded by FDR.

In its first year, the Brewfest hosted only four breweries. Since then it has expanded to its current popularity and has even attracted other organizations hoping to join in raising money for good causes.

The Southern Illinois Beard and Mustache Enthusiasts (SIBME) had a stand set up at this year’s Brewfest, where they offered one dollar rides to beer enthusiasts on their giant mustache teetor totter.

Josh Morale, president of SIBME, said all proceeds from their mustache rides go to St. Francis Animal Shelter.

“Last year we donated to the Dog Park,” said Morale, “from what we understand, St. Francis and the Dog Park are pretty well connected together so we try to do something for the pets.”

He added: “We try to raise money for kids and pets every year. We kind of figure adults can solve their own problems.”

Judging by the turnout at this year’s Brewfest, it is safe to assume the event will continue to be held in the coming years.

Here’s hoping future Brewfests attract more breweries, more people, and more mustaches.

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