The Rockfish Valley Community Center was packed with people Saturday as the Brew Ridge Trail hosted its 10-year anniversary kickoff event.
For seven hours, the public enjoyed live music, fresh food and cold beer. By the end of the event, the community center had raised almost $2,500 from donations and raffle drawings.
Greg Ward kicked off the event at noon with his reggae-style music. By 3 p.m., Sara Taylor, operations manager for RVCC, estimated over 100 people had come to check out the scene.
“The event is well organized, and everyone seems very happy,” Taylor said.
Stu Mills, executive director of RVCC, said by the end of the day more than 400 people had donated to the community center.
“We were thrilled. This wasn’t something we budgeted for, so this was a great bonus,” Mills said Monday.
Devils Backbone Brewing Company, Starr Hill Brewing Company, Blue Mountain Barrel House, Blue Mountain Brewery, and Wild Wolf Brewing Company — the five members of the Brew Ridge Trail — set up tents inside RVCC.
Ward spent two hours strumming his guitar and singing while the five members of the Brew Ridge Trail began pouring beer and cooking food. Ward, who is a big fan of the Blue Mountain Brewery and Barrel House, said he loved performing at the event.
“I love Nelson County and the [Virginia] 151 corridor. It’s a really great crowd and a great benefit,” Ward said.
Some of the breweries served food and all offered a variety of draft beers. In the middle of the floor, the craft vendors sold their unique pieces of work. A caricature artist set up and the Brew Ridge Trail sold T-shirts, commemorating their 10 years in Nelson County.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” Mandi Smack, co-owner of Blue Mountain Brewery and Barrel House, said. “It’s a great turnout.”
Following Greg Ward, the Sally Rose Band and Sun-Dried Opossum also performed during Saturday’s event. Mills said the event was non-stop for all of Saturday and was happy it gave people who otherwise wouldn’t come to RVCC a chance to see everything they offer.
“That’s what great about having an all-day event: People are just flowing in and out,” Taylor said.
Smack said the Brew Ridge Trail members took part of Friday to set up in the auditorium and all morning Saturday to have everything ready for the public.
Smack said craft vendors set up their areas for a $25 donation fee without knowing how popular the event would be. To their happy surprise, the occasion was packed with people enjoying their time and spending money at local businesses.
For the rest of the week, the Brew Ridge Trail members each will hold a special event at their individual locations commemorating their 10 years along Virginia 151, serving food and beer to locals and attracting tourists to the county.
“The community getting together like this is a very positive thing to me,” Ward said.