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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.

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.

FERNDALE — What happens when you combine people, music, food and Christmas brew with below freezing temperatures on a November day in Michigan? We now know it as FestivALE.

Troy Street in Ferndale was shut down and blocked off in conjunction with One Eyed Betty’s Saturday to host the first-ever FestivALE holiday celebration.

One Eyed Betty’s owner and operator Beth Hussey was approached by the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority about providing a beer tent to accompany the city’s Holiday Hoof obstacle run.

But Hussey had something bigger in mind.

“I’ve always wanted to do a big event. And Christmas beers are my personal favorite,” she said. “It sort of evolved. It started as a beer tent and then it turned into this big deal.”

One tent turned into multiple tents. Musical acts were added. Bonfires were brought in. Christmas trees galore lining the streets. And a giant six-foot skillet serving up hot Tartiflette.

“I’m hoping that’s going to end up being a little of a trademark for us,” Hussey said, who plans on having future big events. “We want to always incorporate the big pan and want people to always look forward to what’s being cooked on it.”

Food stations served up cold-weather favorites like roast pig, lamb and goat while a large heated tent spanned the entire west parking lot of the establishment.

But an outdoor event such as this wouldn’t be complete without beer. Lots and lots of beer.

“My first step was to call Rick at Rave,” Hussey said. “I told him my idea and he got right on board. And he helped broker the deals with the breweries for me. I said that I want rare and unusual Christmas beers and Michigan breweries, so he and I devised a plan.”

Rick Lack, Operations Vice President for Rave Associates, was all-in from the start based on Hussey’s track record.

“Promotion-wise, there’s nobody better than Beth,” he said. “We involved several different Michigan breweries. But the cool thing is she wanted some things that were different and unique. So we gave her some special stuff.”

The “special stuff” Lack referred to included limited small kegs tapped on a schedule. Some of the most sought after beers included St. Bernardus Christmas Ale and Van Eecke’s Christmas Leroy, both located at the Christmas Beer Booth.

“These are two beers being poured that have never been in the state of Michigan,” Lack said. “It made sense because as far as festivals go, it’s always Michigan beer. And One Eyed Betty’s does a great job being a cross section of non-geography.”

Those in search of Michigan beers had to look no further than the beer booths outside from Bell’s, Dark Horse and Arbor Brewing.

Inside One Eyed Betty’s, which was transformed into a pinball hall, was a full on Short’s tap takeover consisting of over 30 normally pub-exclusive beers.

“Joe Short was actually at Betty’s and we were having beers and I was telling him about my plan,” Hussey said. “I told him I would love to have him involved. He said, ‘we’re in’ so I kind of slept on it a few nights and I thought it was perfect. They’re one of the few breweries that can handle a tap takeover.”

Despite below-freezing temps, people made their way around to huddle by the bonfires and make new friends. Workers hustled all day and night to ensure a good time was had by all.

Although Hussey knew this inaugural FestivALE would be trying and she may not end up being profitable, she really just wanted people to have a good time.

“The setup was a nightmare. But that’s the whole point of the first year. You learn what you need to do the next year,” she said. “My staff is a little tired and cold. I knew there would be some hiccups and stuff but so far, nothing disastrous has happened.”

When asked if this would become an annual event, the answer was an emphatic “yes” from Hussey.

Lack also echoed the sentiments of the city and Hussey’s dedication to the event.

“Ferndale and Beth are committed. We knew coming into this it wasn’t going to be a one and done,” he said. “It’s going to occur every Thanksgiving to welcome in the Yuletide. A goodbye to fall and welcome winter. We’re looking forward to growing it for years to come.”

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