The Akron RubberDucks are hoping to hit a home run with its first craft beer festival.
The team will host the Ballpark Festival of Beers at Canal Park from 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 20.
“This is just another way of us reaching out to the community and making Canal Park the epicenter of Akron, as it should be,” said Jim Pfander, general manager and chief operating officer.
The festival, sponsored by Goose Island Beer Co., will showcase more than 100 local, regional and domestic beers. It will take place on the field, with the beer vendors set up on the warning track.
There also will be music and food from Canal Park concessions.
“A lot of people do beer fests but we’re going to do one with a ballpark atmosphere,” Pfander said. “Being on a baseball field and being able to walk in the outfield and sample a lot of different, great craft brews, it’s going to be a fun event.”
The RubberDucks, the AA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, are still working on the brewery and beer list. But Goose Island, Spaten, Kona, Redhook, Widmer Brothers, Destihl, Elevator, Summit, Hoppin’ Frog, Fat Head’s, Jackie O’s, Alltech, Breckenridge and Left Hand already are lined up.
Tickets are $30 in advance, and $35 at the gates the day of the event. They include a commemorative tasting glass and 15 drink tickets.
Tickets can be purchased in person at the Canal Park box office, by calling 330-253-5153, or online at www.akronrubberducks.com. And sorry, kids, but this event is only for those 21 or older.
Pfander hopes to turn the beer festival into an annual event. Times certainly have changed from when he first entered professional baseball 15 years ago, when the beer selection at the ballpark basically came down to Budweiser or Miller. Fans now expect craft beer to be available, he said.
Beer festivals also are a common promotion for minor-league baseball teams, which are always looking for ways to use their stadiums outside the baseball season.
Many hold beer events, including the Charleston RiverDogs, Dayton Dragons, Lansing Lugnuts and Fort Myers Miracle.