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Chester County Press

Kennett Brewfest draws 3,500, 105 breweries

10/03/2017 12:14PM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
Staff Writer

Beneath intermittent clouds and sun, a massive gathering estimated at 3,500 tilted both elbows and souvenir beer glasses this past Saturday, ushering in the 20th annual Kennett Brewfest, held at the Genesis parking lot between South Union and South Broad Streets in Kennett Square.
From one end of the parking lot to the other, the festival was a four-hour, three-generation sea of humanity who served at the altars of the 105 participating breweries, who doled out samples of IPAs, lagers and autumn-inspired beers.
Limos, transportation vans and drivers waiting for passengers stretched around the entirety of the festival, and the autumn air was filled with the blues-y sounds of local bands. While the familiar faces that have made this festival one of the largest and most popular of its kind in the Northeast lined the periphery – names like Victory Brewing Company, Two Stones and Levante Brewing – breweries from other parts of the region joined in the festivities.
This year's festival – again serving as a benefit for Historic Kennett Square – expanded the connoisseur tasting, added some additional raffle baskets, and a second performance stage. The Kennett Brewfest and its companion the Kennett Winterfest accounts for about two-thirds of the annual budget for Historic Kennett Square, said executive director Mary Hutchins.
“It's really important to our program, so we  handle it with kid gloves and are very careful with it. It works because we have the support of the borough and the police,” she said.
Hutchins called the festival the “brain child” of festival organizer Jeff Norman. 
“The brewers love this event because the people and volunteers who work the event are the best around,” said Norman, who was joined by his wife, Laurie and daughter, Hannah. “They're on top of everything. We have to trust the people who are doing the hard work and volunteering. They're why this festival has worked so well for so long.”
Norman said that although he enjoys the fruits of his labors and others on the day of the Kennett Brewfest, the enjoyment is a short-lived one.
“A week from now, I'll be contacting the brewers and saying, 'Who wants to be in the Winterfest?'” he said.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email

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