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Patrons raise their glasses at Mars Brewfest

Participants of the Mars Beer Fest socialize while they wait in line to sample local micro brews Saturday. Harold Aughton/Special to the Eagle.

MARS — Pittsburgh Street and Grand Avenue were shut down for what some would call the “out of this world” experience of the 7th Mars Brewfest.

Attendees mingled among music and laughter, glasses in their hands that came with their ticket.

The event serves as a fundraiser for Mars New Year, which occurs every 22 months in conjunction with the planet’s trip around the sun, Mayor Gregg Hartung said.

“We sold 550 tickets online, and I think we’ll sell as many at the door,” he said. “In past years, we’ve had 1,200 people come through here. They like how much variety is here with wine, beer, distilleries and food trucks.”

Trivia games, wine tastings, merchandise and endless IPAs were available alongside the 20 breweries featured at the festival.

Ken Scott, event organizer, said the event raises nearly $25,000 every year.

“If people have a good time this year, they’ll come back,” he said. “We have a lot of people come back.”

LInes started forming half an hour before the event began.

Kristina Larocca said it was her first time at the event, which she attended with a group of friends from high school.

“It’s fun, I like trying new things and this is a good place to do it,” she said.

Emily and Travis Timblin of Zelienople went from vendor to vendor sampling micro brews Sataurday at the Mars Brew Fest. Harold Aughton/Special to the Eagle

Rhonda Vorndran, of Gibsonia, said it was her third Brew Fest.

“It’s usually a nice day, and the people are great, the beers are great,” she said. “Usually we’ve been to all of these breweries, and if we haven’t, we try to go.”

Jerry Sapp, member of the Butler Area Society of Homebrewers, said the group brought a little bit of everything. Their station was set with pale ales, ciders and sours.

“They can try whatever, we encourage them to try down the line,” he said. “People like supporting the community, especially a small community like this.”

Camaraderie flowed alongside the beer, as members of the society helped North Country Brewing Company by pouring their ales as well.

Steve Spence, owner of Missing Links, said the event has always been well attended.

“Even in the couple of down years, they get lots of folks to come out, I think because (folks) know this is a community thing,” he said. “It’s well run and the money goes (back) to the community, that’s the biggest thing.”

Zach Manuel, employee of Butler Brew Works, said attendees were enjoying the brews as much as the atmosphere of Brew Fest.

“It’s a really god vibe here. They’re enjoying it. Good weather and good beer makes for a great event,” he said.

Friends Leisha Belfiore of Mars and Jessica Depalma spent Saturday evening sampling local micro brews during the Mars Beer Fest. Harold Aughton/Special to Butler Eagle
Spencer Harding, head of brewing operations at Riverside Brewing, pours one of the company's micro brews for beer goers Saturday during the Mars Brew Fest. Harold Aughton/Special to the Eagle
Emily and Travis Timblin of Zelienople tip their classes filled with Peeps Marshmallow Sour micro brew at the Mars Brew Fest on Saturday. Harold Aughton/Special to the Eagle