Last Friday, atop the Athens parking lot, community members gathered for a night of festivities and, most importantly, beer, during the annual Fall Fest.
As people headed for the elevator (or the stairs if they were feeling ambitious) and prepared for the six-story climb, music echoed through the concrete walls of the garage.
Once at the top, beer lovers were greeted by vendors such as Jackie O’s, West End Ciderhouse, Thirsty Dog Brewing and Devil’s Kettle Brewing, all of which serve their finest beers.
In order to enjoy these alcoholic beverages, one had to visit the main tent run by Ohio Brew Week, the festival sponsors, and purchase a cup, along with tokens corresponding to the number of times one planned to refill that cup.
As people waited, multicolored chalks lay around the garage near the signs, prompting festival-goers to draw on the walls.
This was the third time Ohio Brew Week has hosted the event, executive director Brandon Thompson said.
Thompson said Ohio Brew Week brought together four groups for the event, which rocked the crowd throughout the night.
“As a DJ, I love music and I love bringing the two together,” he said of the festival.
Thompson became the director of Ohio Brew Week in 2016 and also helps coordinate Athens’ famous Halloween Block Party.
True to his role on Ohio Brew Week, he said his favorite beer was probably the beer he tasted first.
Among the vendors serving alcohol were also other tents promoting their organization, such as the Athens Ohio Roller Derby team.
“We are the roller derby league here in Athens made up of two teams, well at least before COVID we had two teams,” said teams member Julianne Noxsel. “(We had) an A team and a B team. The locals know our A team well, known as the Appalachian Hell Betties.
The Hell Betties could be found weaving through the less crowded areas of the parking lot, flaunting their grace on eight wheels as the sun set.
Ohioans from all over attended the Fest. A couple, Betty and Chuck Bush, attended the festival for the second time.
For Betty and Chuck and others, the festival brought entertainment among local beers.
“We drink Ohio beers, and the weather is nice, and that always brings out great things in our community,” Betty Bush said.