Hail to the Ale Beer Festival to benefit Haven House

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

An emerging fall tradition is on tap in Henry County this month, as organizers seek to raise money for a worthy cause.

Participants at last year’s Hail to the Ale Beer Festival. Photo by Seth Jackson

The 2015 Hail to the Ale Beer Festival will be Oct. 24 from 1-5 p.m., in the Jason T. Harper Event Center at Heritage Park, 101 Lake Dow Road in McDonough. Proceeds from the third-annual benefit will go to support the Haven House domestic-violence shelter.

Tickets are $25 until Oct. 17, $35 from that date until the day of the event, or $45 at the door. Designated-driver tickets for the festival are $20 each.

Beau Kelley has served on the Haven House board for the last three years, and is once again the co-chair for the fundraiser. He says this year’s beer festival will be the biggest one yet.

“We’ve got more than 100 different domestic, craft and import breweries that will be on-site with different types of beer that you won’t find anywhere else,” says Kelley. “It’ll be a unique experience for beer aficionados. We will also have designated-driver organizations on-site, just in case anyone needs a ride. This is definitely an event for responsible adults.”

Food trucks will be available to provide options for attendees at the event. Hail to the Ale will also feature live music from Justin as well as Jacob Blazer and the Good People.

Last year’s beer festival, says Kelley, generated more than $25,000 for Haven House. He says the event shines a light on an important cause while providing more entertainment options in the area.

“A few years ago, Main Street McDonough actually did a survey of citizens and business owners and asked what type of new event that Henry Countians would like to see,” he says. “At the top of the list was a beer festival. We thought, what a great way to offer the community an event that they want, but also to benefit a great cause like Haven House. People have come to embrace this event. They really have.”

The Women’s Center, PC will be the presenting sponsor for the festival. A VIP area, sponsored by Outback Steakhouse, will provide wine and food for more than 30 sponsors of the festival. The medical staff of Piedmont Henry Hospital will sponsor a Block Stack Game, and Corn Hole Game sponsors will be S-2 International and MEADtrans. A Beer Pong Game will be sponsored by 15th St. Pizza & Pub.

Kelley says because sponsors are covering costs associated with the fundraiser, all the funds raised at the benefit will go directly to Haven House.

Haven House, which serves victims of family violence in Henry, Jasper, Butts and Lamar Counties, recently celebrated 25 years of service. The facility can house up to 48 people and assists with legal advocacy, transportation, counseling, support groups, parenting classes, case management and referral, a federal Rapid Re-Housing program, a food pantry, children’s programs and limited financial assistance.

Haven House also oversees the Blessings Thrift Store to provide victims with clothing, home furnishings and other needed items.

Marjorie Lacy, the executive director at Haven House, notes that in addition to the fundraiser’s other offerings, Hail to the Ale will also feature casks of specially-brewed beer that will be tapped for the festival.

Lacy describes Hail to the Ale as a “fun event” that provides significant help in allowing them to meet victims’ needs.

“You have a lot of different opportunities to taste something new,” she says. “It’s huge for us because it takes huge amounts of funds to provide for our clients and to do what we do. We’re hoping to raise as much as we can. It’s an expensive event, but we’re hopeful to raise a good amount of money. This is one of two fundraisers we have every year. The other is our Haven House Hustle 5K in the spring.”

Commemorative T-shirts, ranging in size from small to extra large, will be available at the festival for $15 each. For more information or to purchase tickets to the fundraiser, visit www.hailtothealefest.com. For help with domestic violence, call Haven House’s 24-hour crisis line at 770-954-9229 or visit www.henryhavenhouse.org.