With Christmas trees, bonfires, street performers and plenty of craft beer, One-Eyed Betty’s FestivALE filled downtown Ferndale with holiday cheer on Saturday.
The second year event celebrated the start of the Winter season with Michigan and Belgian beers, cold weather comfort food and live music.
While inclement weather posed problems during last year’s FestivALE’s inaugural run, One-Eyed Betty’s owner Beth Hussey made some big changes to help make the event more enjoyable for 2014.
“The weather could not have been worse (last year) — zero degrees and 40 mile per hour winds,” said Hussey.
“It was absolutely brutal.”
After last year’s event, Hussey reviewed lots of feedback from attendees and addressed their concerns for the festival’s second time around.
One of the most noticeable differences this year was FestivALE’s main tent, which was relocated to a different parking lot. The tent was fully enclosed and had a different heating system, so attendees had no problem staying warm.
Hussey also tripled her entertainment budget to showcase a full day of live Americana music, including performances by Delilah De Wylde & The Lost Boys, The Ragbirds and headliner Mountain Heart.
The biggest star of the show, though, was the beer, with even more Michigan breweries featured.
“We really cranked it up as far as the special beers we’re offering,” said Hussey.
FestivALE-goers had three beer booths to choose from — a main booth, a Michigan’s Best booth and a Christmas Belgian booth.
At the main booth, more than 20 seasonal Michigan beers and ciders were available all day, including Dark Horse’s 4 Elf, Odd Side’s Granny’s Apple Pie, Arbor Brewing’s FIGJAM, Bell’s Winter White and Atwater’s Christmas Ale.
At the Michigan’s Best and Belgian booths, rare limited releases were tapped on an hourly schedule. Short’s Bourbon Carrot Cake, Bell’s Black Note, Founders’ KBS and Kuhnhenn’s 2013 Fourth Dementia were just a few standouts on the Michigan’s Best lineup.
In addition, Belgian selections such as Kasteel Winterbier, Delirium Noël and St. Bernardus Christmas added some Old World holiday flair to the event.
Hussey pointed out that any one of the rare beers would be a draw for craft beer fans, so being able to offer so many was especially exciting.
“We’ve got them pouring at the same place on the same day, which is pretty special,” she said.
Food was also a big part of the event, as FestivALE-goers noshed on One-Eyed Betty’s famous fried doughnuts, a tartiflette prepared in a giant skillet and a variety of “roast beasts,” including pig, lamb and goat.
Hussey noted that FestivALE will continue to bring its holiday magic to Ferndale for years to come.
“My vision of this event is that it will grow over the years,” she said.