CANAAN VALLEY - Lovers of both music and craft beer will descend upon Canaan Valley State Park this weekend for the third annual Brew Skies Festival.
The event will take place today and Saturday and feature 25 bands on two stages. The event will also highlight nine local brewing companies as well as local artisans, and craft and food vendors.
Some of this year's headlining musical acts include American Babies, an up-and-coming Americana act from Philadelphia; The Larry Keel Experience, guitar-picking virtuoso and bluegrass veteran from Virginia; and The Davisson Brothers, who hail from and have made a name for themselves across West Virginia.
Beckley band The Boatmen perform at the 2013 Brew Skies Festival.
"We have 25 acts, two days of music, and a lot of it is local from around the state and around the region. Some of the bands are national acts and are up and coming," Jessica Wamsley, the assistant director of the Brew Skies Festival, said. "Where it (the festival) is located, Tucker County, is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Everywhere you go the backdrop is mountains. No matter where you go in this county you are surrounded by mountains."
The event will feature nine local brewing companies including the festival's sponsor, Mountain State Brewing Company in Thomas, as well as Morgantown Brewing Company in Morgantown, Lost River Brewing in Wardensville, Big Timber Brewing in Elkins and numerous others.
Food vendors at the event will include El Gran Sabor, Canaan Valley State Park BBQ, White Grass Cafe, McVicker's Kickers and more.
Wamsley said the festival is unique because it really tries to keep the focus on local brewing but at the same time make it a family friendly event with activities for all ages, including magicians, nature walks and kids musical performances.
"We were the first ones to really do West Virginia focus, with all West Virginia breweries and that is what we are, as a brewing company ourselves. We wanted something where we could get together with others in our trade and celebrate and what better way to do that than a festival," Wamsley said.
"The event is very family friendly. We have lots of activities for kids on Saturday," she added. "We also have a lot of activities for adults. It's not just a 'go and party festival,' it's a 'go and have a good time as well as party festival.'"
Tickets are available at the gate with day passes costing $30 and weekend passes costing $60. The ticket price is only for entrance to the festival and beer tickets must be purchased separately.
Camping for the event is available at the Canaan Valley Resort campground on a first-come, first-serve basis. Additional lodging and accommodations can be found on the festival's website.
Parking will be provided at the nature center beside the campground and a shuttle will run to and from that area to the festival location.
To purchase tickets or for more information please visit the Brew Skies Festival website at www.brewskiesfestival.com.