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February 28, 2014

'Snommegang' festival coming to Oneonta

By Bera Dunau Cooperstown Crier
The Daily Star

---- — A celebration of community, music and beer is coming to Oneonta on Saturday.

The inaugural Snommegang Invitational Beer Festival will be held on Main Street in Oneonta. Organized by Brewery Ommegang, the event will combine beer from around the country with live music and food.

“We’re very excited to have this,” said Otsego County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Barbara Ann Heegan. “It’s a destination event.”

Brewery Ommegang has become known for its Belgium Comes to Cooperstown beer festival, which has been held every summer since 1999, as well as for a number of other commercial and charitable events the brewery organizes in the area.

Brewery Ommegang also has several distributors in and connections with Oneonta, however, which Steve Hamilton, assistant event coordinator, said made the company look at putting on an event in the city.

“We decided its time to give a little bit of love back to the Oneonta area,” said Hamilton.

Brewery Ommegang Publicity Manager Allison Capozza said that Brewery Ommegang chose the beginning of March to provide a break from the region’s winter weather.

“By this time in the winter, people are getting a little stir crazy,” said Capozza.

Snommegang will take place in three heated tents on Main Street, which will be closed off from Ford Avenue to Dietz Street. A tent on Muller plaza, featuring the music of The Birdseed Bandits, Waylon Speed and the Horseshoe Lounge Playboys, will be free.

The other two tents will be beer-tasting tents, and will require a ticket to enter. Tastings will be held from 2 to 6 p.m.

Tickets for the beer tasting are $50, but students (21 and older) can purchase them for $40 with a valid student ID. Tickets are available at etix.com, the Green Toad Bookstore and at the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce. The Inn at Cooperstown, the Clarion Hotel in Oneonta and the Rainbow Inn in Oneonta are all offering overnight packages.

Hamilton said between 75 and 80 products will be available to be sampled in the tasting tents. In addition to beers from Brewery Ommegang and its parent company, Duvel Moortgat, about 25 other breweries will be offering samples.

The festival will also not be limited to the street.

“We have about nine local accounts who will be doing drink specials, food specials, bands,” Hamilton said. “Pretty much anyone who carries Ommegang will be running some kind of beer special throughout the day.”

The B-Side Ballroom and Supper Club, the Black Oak Tavern, Stella Luna Ristorante and the Red Jug Pub are some of the establishments that will be participating.

Additionally, food will be available at the festival, both in the entertainment tent and at participating restaurants.

Hamilton said Brewery Ommegang hopes Snommegang will draw a significant crowd.

“We’re hoping for about 500 to 600 (ticket buyers),” said Hamilton, who added that they are looking for 1,000 interested parties to attend the event. “We’re hoping to make this a very big event for the Oneonta area.”

Heegan said that her membership is also excited for Snommegang.

“They are really commending Brewery Ommegang for doing an event like this in Oneonta,” Heegan said.

She also said she believes the event will attract people to downtown businesses.

Hamilton said he can see Snommegang coming back to Oneonta next year.

“This event has room to grow and flourish,” Hamilton said. “If the town is on board and all the local businesses that we’ve worked with are on board, it’s not even a question in our minds.”