You can’t get much better than the East Atlanta Beer Fest: tastings of more than 170 craft brews, live music, yummy local food vendors, that big cuddly Beer Bear and more, all in the shady comfort of . The eighth annual fest is going down this Saturday, May 21 and the community is getting more excited by the day.
If you know that your ticket ($35 in advance) goes to a good neighborhood cause, but aren’t sure which one(s), you’re not alone. Let us fill you in.
Each year, the money raised is awarded in grants to various organizations in the community. At the end of May/mid-June, the East Atlanta Beer Fest (EABF) distributes grant applications to prior grantees, business owners, community associations, etc. (anyone can request them), and then they make their decision in September when all the applications have been received.
To be considered, a group doesn’t have to be a 501(c)3 or even an “official organization.”
“It can be a group of neighbors getting together to clean up an area of the community,” says Elena Kaplan, treasurer of the EABF. “The only requirement is that it must be happening in and benefiting the greater East Atlanta area.”
The Beer Fest raised $57,000 in 2010 and hopes are high to exceed that number this year. Organizations that benefited last year included the , , the East Atlanta Parents Network and Recycle EAV, among others.
The grants are given in all sizes. Recently, the EABF awarded a late grant of $600 to the Grant Park Cooperative Preschool for a single project, while groups like the East Atlanta Kids Club or Neighbor in Need might receive $10,000 or more.
The beneficiaries change from year to year, but some remain the same. Between 8 to 10 grants are usually awarded.
“In the past, we’ve given grants to the police department; we bought them bicycles a few years ago,” Kaplan said. “And we’ve helped Burgess-Peterson Academy with things they’ve needed. But sometimes, it really is a group of neighbors that have a great idea for a project and the volunteers, but they just don’t have the funds.”
“For what [the festival] is, we do raise a huge amount,” Kaplan said. “And it all goes right back into the community.