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Inaugural festival raises funds, awareness for Haven House

 

By Alex Welch
Assistant Editor 

  Craft beer lovers in Henry County won’t have to travel far for an upcoming festival that features over 100 beverage selections. The first Brewgaloo Beer Festival seeks to entertain guests with an event unfamiliar to the area, all while raising funds for a local organization that works to assist victims of domestic violence.

  Haven House, located in McDonough, is a nonprofit that shelters women and children who have been involved with domestic violence. While the organization fundraises through various events annually, the goal is to make Brewgaloo a yearly function that provides huge support for Haven House’s efforts.

The first Brewgaloo Beer Festival is set for Oct. 26 and will feature over 100 craft, domestic and import beers. All proceeds from the event will benefit Haven House, a shelter in McDonough for domestic abuse victims and their children.

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  Beau Kelley, co-chair for Brewgaloo, said the festival was a concept created by the Haven House board of directors. A public survey showed a growing inclination to see some type of beer festival take place in the area.

  “We were trying to do something original, something a little different than any other festival or fundraiser that’s ever been done in Henry County. Beer festivals and wine tastings are prevalent on the north side of town. It’s never been done in Henry on a large scale,” said Kelley. “The Haven House board of directors was looking to create a new signature event that we could call our own, that we felt confident would raise thousands of dollars.”

  Haven House not only provides shelter for women and children exposed to domestic violence, it also holds outreach programs and assists with legal advocacy. Operating this type of organization isn’t cheap, though. Marjorie Lacy, executive director of Haven House, said the organization’s annual budget is close to $850,000, but that figure is now $200,000 less than it was before the nation’s economy hit a recession several years ago.

  “It’s been very difficult to maintain this place through the recession. We’ve undergone lots of cuts and at the same time, we’ve increased our services three times the amount,” said Lacy. “We have some public funding. We get different grants and just a variety of things. But we want any donations we can come up with. It really does take a lot to operate this place.”

  The statistics on domestic violence in Henry County show the need for an organization like Haven House. Lacy said between the beginning of January and Sept. 30, 4,846 calls regarding domestic violence have been made to all law enforcement across Henry County. Haven House has received 2,022 calls to its crisis hotline in that same span.

  Lacy said people staying at Haven House are typically there for 30 days. Along with a place to stay, Haven House provides transportation, meals, clothing, medical assistance and help with resettlement upon leaving.

  “Through Sept 30, we have had 230 women and 233 children since the beginning of January. That’s 8,626 bed nights. In addition to that, we put 27 people up in motels when we were full,” said Lacy.

  The constant need for these services ultimately led to the idea of a new major fundraiser. While Kelley admitted he expected some hesitation about a beer festival, he said the community seems excited about Brewgaloo.

  “Things are going great. The business community is solidly backing this event. Sponsor-ships have been incredible. This just goes to show you the community is looking for new types of events where they don’t have to go to Atlanta to enjoy that type of thing,” said Kelley. ” This is just another way to get the community involved in a fun adult atmosphere.”

  Brewgaloo is expecting 100-plus craft, domestic and import beers. Kelley said guests will be treated to some beers that “you’ve never seen before.” Tickets cost $45 for general admission, which includes a tasting cup for two-ounce samples. VIP tickets can be purchased for $75, and they included early admission, a special edition T-shirt and the tasting cup. Providing funds for Haven House is a key aspect of the event, but Kelley said there’s more to Brewgaloo than entertainment.

  “We are going to have advocates on site giving out literature about domestic violence and prevention. We’re going to do everything we can to prevent domestic violence. Yes, we’re raising funds, but it’s also about awareness,” said Kelley.

  Food trucks and vendors will accompany the variety of beers, and Mackie Creek Band and DrugStore Cowboys are providing live entertainment throughout the afternoon. Saferide and Designated Driver Alternative will be on standby to ensure safety for anyone in need of a ride home. 

  Brewgaloo runs from 2-6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Jason T. Harper Event Center at Heritage Park. To find out more about the festival, visit www.brewgaloobeerfest.com. For more on Haven House, go to www.henryhavenhouse.org. The organization’s crisis line can be reached at 770-954-9229.

 

 

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